Maybe you've read this tale before. I don't know the original author, but the message is timeless.
Once upon a time a bunch of frogs arranged a running competition. Their goal was to reach the top of the highest tower in the land.
A big crowd gathered to see the race and cheer on the contestants.
(The truth is they were waiting to see them fail. After all, how far can a tiny frog expect to climb?)
Then the race began, with excited frogs jumping up and down.
Everyone who watched from down below said things like this:
"Oh, that's way too difficult. They will never make it to the top."
"There's no way they can do it! Look how high that tower is--that's way too hard for a frog. We're not made for climbing towers."
Some of the tiny frogs quit, exhausted. A few of them, the more determined ones, kept on climbing.
All along the crowd kept yelling, "This is impossible! You won't make it!"
One by one, more tiny frogs dropped out and gave up trying.
But one frog kept going. Slowly he inched his way higher and higher, panting hard all the way. Down below the crowd grew silent, all of them holding their breath.
At last that frog--the one who never won a race in his life--stood at the very top.
Now everybody down below cheered and clapped, except for the ones who gave up along the way.
At last that winning frog came down. The watchers crowded around him, all with the same question.
"Where did YOU find the strength to keep on and reach such a big goal? Didn't you hear everyone yelling that this tower was too high and you'd never make it?"
The winner thought a minute before he answered.
"Besides, I couldn't hear them. I'm deaf, you know..."
What you and I can learn from that tiny frog.
Perhaps we--or someone we care about--may be slogging some through some tough times. When we are, it's easy to be negative. It's hard to be an encourager and to think positively when we're anxious about the future.
But Froggy shows us how to keep pushing ahead. Let's tune out the negative. When people tell us we cannot do it or launch into a story of someone else's bad outcome, let's be stone-cold deaf.
One more thing
Let's remember that our words, too, have power. We can lift them up or flatten their dreams.
We can encourage their hearts and bless them or we can drag them down. We get to choose. Proverbs 18:21 says it well:
The tongue has the power of life and death...
Oh, by the way, let's not forget the One who walks with us and promises to hold us up all the way. Here from Isaiah 40:29:
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.