He Did not Kick the Donkey
He Did not Kick the Donkey
In the book Jesus, CEO one of my favorite stories is that of a misguided and out of work prophet who had been hired to go curse a village. He wasn’t hired by Yahweh, evidently. He had been hired by somebody with a grudge and money. So, he is riding along when suddenly his donkey just stops on the trail. The prophet kicks her. He screams at her. He finally dismounts and prepares to beat the hapless beast when suddenly the donkey cries out “Why are you beating me? Haven’t I served you faithfully all these years?” Suddenly an angel appears and says to Balaam “You fool, quit beating her. Even she could see I was standing here. Your donkey just saved your life, for if you had continued with your plan you would have been killed. In fact,” the angel continued, “I would have killed you and let the donkey live.” (Numbers 22:28)
I love this story for many reasons. It shows that prophets who curse other people are always up for hire. It shows that animals can see things we can’t. It shows that animals can lower their frequency of intelligence to ours, at times, in order to communicate in words. It shows that beating someone in order to force them to comply to your will is never part of a heavenly plan.
This story is relevant to me because I have often gotten frustrated when doors won’t open. Or when traffic doesn’t go according to my plan. Or when anyone or anything rises up to thwart me on my path. In fact, I had to remind myself just yesterday that a trailer that flipped and needed a week to be repaired is what led a New York artist to delay her intended dream trip to California. She had to take a temporary job in El Paso, Texas in order to pay for the repairs. While there a new friend set her up on a blind date with this guy who loved to dance and wore loud ties. And that is how she met and married Bob Jones, who became my father.
Right now it seems that hardly anything is going according to plan. We live in topsy turvey world. (Or, as my autocorrect just tried to write “a tipsy turkey world.” Close enough.)
Those who rise up and overcome all this will be those who are resilient. Able to adapt. Able to accept what we cannot change, and change what we can.
There is a fine line between knowing when opposition is God trying to show you another way or when it is just a test of courage. If the opposing forces cause you to use violence to get them to move, you probably are not on God’s path. If you do everything you possibly can to get something to happen, and it doesn’t, then an angel might be on the road somewhere, so don’t beat the donkey. Take a little time. Smell the flowers around you. And rethink your route...and your mission.
Flat tires that keeps us from catching a plane...missed appointments that cause a project’s delay...bankers who tell us no...all of these could be donkeys that are keeping us from endangering ourselves in ways we cannot see, or bringing us closer to who we need to be.
Many times when you feel farthest from the truth, you are very close to it. And when you think you are on top of the world, you could be sitting in a very dangerous place.
When the donkey you are riding suddenly refuses to move, don’t kick it. Get off and look for the angel standing in the road. That donkey might be saving your life. They weren’t given big ears for nothing.
Jesus did not kick the donkey. Instead, he saw it as part of God’s plan.