I have been called many names in my lifetime. Some good- sister, wife, mother, friend. Some not so good- brat (I have an older brother), antagonizer (by my brother), instigator (by my brother again- we really do love each other), arguer (brother or spouse, you pick). I have probably even been called a donkey in a different form.
Our journey through the Bible brought us to Balaam and his donkey this past month in Numbers 22. Again, it’s a story that I have heard countless times in Sunday school. This time, after I read it, I heard a voice say “Be a donkey”. So I read it again.
The cliff’s notes version goes like this: Balaam gets on his donkey to go where the Israelites are camped. God gets angry and sends an angel to stop him. Balaam doesn’t see the angel but the donkey does and changes direction. The second time this happens, Balaam still doesn’t see the angel but the donkey does and he walks close to a wall, hurting Balaam’s foot. The last time, the donkey just lays down. Each time, the donkey gets beat by his master because the master doesn’t see what the animal does. Finally, the donkey turns to him and they have a conversation. (I thought it was interesting that Balaam doesn’t seem surprised by his talking donkey- they talk as though they converse on the daily- did that happen in Biblical times??)
The donkey saw what the human couldn’t. I have a dog and I know that he senses things that I cannot. His behaviors are evident of that. One time, we went for a walk and when we got to the end of our street, he sat down. He would not go forward. I pulled him but I could not move him. Finally, I turned around to go back home and he got up without force and happily trotted back home. We got home and no sooner had I closed the door when it started pouring. Had we continued our walk, we would have been drenched.
Sometimes I think that my eyes are so fixed on what is in front of me- or fixed on whatever mission I am on that day- that I do not see anything else. I don’t see that the traffic is heavy to force me to stay in the car and worship just a minute longer. I forget that the reason that I am running late in the first place is because I spent a little too much time reading my Bible earlier that morning. I over analyze situations in my life, forgetting that God is working things in the background that I cannot see. I get easily overwhelmed and forget to pray that God would order my steps in a productive way. I wish that I could be like that donkey and be so in tune with God that I see the angels that I know are all around me. I wish that I had the confidence of that donkey to speak to the Balaams in my life and call them to the carpet.
Be a donkey.