Putting grit in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn’t be easy: “Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.Acts 14:22 MSG
In the woods, lived three mice. They all lived next to each other in an acorn tree.
One was gray and timid, never wanting to leave his burrow for the dangers of the world outside were much bigger. There were hawks, and snakes, and foxes, oh why? Why must he go out if he could survive on the bark and nuts that fell from the tree above. So he never left his humble burrow.
Another mouse was white and fearless. She held her head up high and laughed at the fear caging the gray mouse. Although, she did fear coming back to her cold empty burrow where it was just her and her alone cuddled for warmth. So she stayed out in the dangerous world. Laughing and running from the dangers and the loneliness creeping in her burrow.
The third and final mouse was a simple brown mouse. He knew that Winter was coming and he had to prepare for it. Though, he also knew of the dangers and tried to be as cautious of them as possible. He carried a bag of tiny pebbles to mark his way back home, he talked with the other animals and sought their help, such as a grasshopper that could jump higher than him, or a rabbit that was faster than him. In exchange he gave the grasshopper nuts and helped the rabbit dig his burrow. With knowledge from a kind sparrow, he collected many things for the injuries he received from his time outside his burrow. She said she was glad that someone listened to her. After this, the brown mouse always gathered what he could, and on nights that he was lonely or needed help, he invited the other mice.
The gray mouse always said no, unsure of the scars and things in the brown mouse’s house. The white mouse laughed and declined, because she wanted to be the one to decline before he could tell her to leave. With a sigh, the three mice continued their routines: the gray mouse hiding in his burrow in an attempt to escape the dangers outside, the white mouse running to escape the unspoken dangers hidden in her home, and the brown mouse going out and coming back, with food and a hope for a friend or two.
Then Winter finally came. It was harsh, cold, and relentless in grabbing what it could in its icy grip. Food became scarce and the acorns that fell from the tree were snatched up by many in a frenzy to escape starvation. The poor gray mouse, hidden in his burrow, was unable to grab any. More afraid of the frenzy and unwilling to be hurt by those frantic animals. It did not take long for him to wither away, curled in fear of the pain that did end up finding him. The restless white mouse could not stand how the frigid cold in her burrow made the emptiness bigger, made her feel lonely. So she ran. She ran and ran, trying to escape her burrow and the frigid grasp of Winter. But when she stopped, because she eventually had to, she did not recognize where she was, and how to get back. Lost and alone, Winter’s grasp was the last thing that held her.
Now the brown mouse did struggle through the Winter as well. Only having a few nuts and things he collected. Though, the grasshopper came by with meager offerings for lodging. Despite the small amount they had, together they lasted through the harsh Winter. When Winter let go of the forest, making way for Spring, the brown mouse and the grasshopper were cold and thinner, but alive.
When the brown mouse learned of the fates of the other mice from the sparrow, she held him as he cried. The rabbit heard of the misfortune. He empathized with the brown mouse, suffering the loss of a brother that had not dug a burrow deep enough. So the rabbit invited them all over for a feast. The brown mouse, grasshopper, sparrow, and rabbit enjoyed a feast of their odd friendship that helped them survive the Winter.
In the end, the simple brown mouse, along with the others, suffered scars and losses that would take time, work, and care to heal. But they weren’t alone and they had hope in facing things together.
Behold, I am with you and will keep [careful watch over you and guard] you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to this [promised] land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.Genesis 28:15 AMP