Once upon a time, there was a ladder. It was so steep and so high that no one dared to climb it. It was steeper than a pitched roof. It was steeper than the top of a lighthouse or a pyramid. And it was so high that no one could see the top. Not even the tall giraffe who looked up and up and up with its long neck.
It wouldn’t have mattered, except that at the top of the ladder was something the animals needed. They needed fruit! And no one could help them get it.
The fruit was not falling down, but the animals were very hungry! Sometimes the birds and squirrels would shake the trees in their play, but the birds weren’t feeling playful. And the squirrels weren’t feeling kind. So, the fruit stayed on the trees.
The giraffe asked the birds, “Will you please help us?”
The birds just cawed, twittered and said no.
The lion roared at the squirrels, “Help us now!”
But the squirrels just tittered and laughed, “We will not help you!” They said, “We want to see if you can get your own fruit!”
Even the monkeys, who were usually very kind and generous, chattered and chattered in the trees as they swung from branch to branch. But they would not drop any fruit down to the other animals.
Then suddenly, there came a tiny sound. At first, no one heard it. And no one saw who was making it. The lion finally heard and saw the tiny mouse. He said, “Go away little mouse. You cannot help us here.”
The giraffe heard the mouse very faintly, for he was very tall. But he said, “Go away little mouse. You cannot help us here.”
But the mouse did not listen. mice never do, you know.
Instead, he ignored the other animals and focused on the fruit. Soon he began to climb the thin rungs of the ladder, and when he did, he discovered a wonderful thing! The ladder was made of rope!
Now, if there’s one thing mice love to do, it’s to chew things! So, the little mouse began to chew through the rope rungs.
“Stop! Stop!” cried the animals. “Do not destroy the ladder! How will we climb it again?”
But the mouse did not listen. Mice never do, you know.
He chewed and chewed and as he did, the wrung’s of the ladder fell down, down, down! As the rungs fell away one by one, the mouse clung to the sides of the ladder. Held steady by tree limbs at the top and boulders at the bottom, the side ropes did not budge.
The little mouse climbed and climbed, and chewed and chewed, leaving broken rope rungs behind him.
Finally, he reached the top of the ladder. All the rungs were gone, but the side ropes still held firm.
“Release the ropes!” the mouse called to the animals below.
“No!” they cried, “How will we ever climb up in the trees again?”
“I know!” the mouse shouted. “Trust me! Please, release the ropes!”
So, reluctantly, the animals shoved the boulders aside, and the ropes sprang free. Now the mouse was really excited!
The little mouse pulled and pulled on the ropes until they were all the way up high in the tree beside him. Then, he threw them over the branches. As he did, fruit began to rain down on the animals below!
“Hooray!” cheered the animals. “Thank you, Mouse!”
The little mouse smiled. “I only did what came naturally!”
Now, when the animals needed fruit, they could just pull the ropes, and fruit would be provided for them.
Because where there is a will, there is a way. Don’t believe me? Ask that little mouse, who heard his inner voice when it gave him the idea. He followed the guidance when his spirit told him the steps to take. And he saw it through until the goal was accomplished. He did what he was sent to do. It was all natural and part of a higher plan.
Wherever we are, God is there with us. And wherever we are, there’s a reason why. It is God’s reason, and His nature, our inner nature, will guide us through all things… If we just listen!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
–Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV)
You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
–Matthew 7:16-18 (NRSV)