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Balaam’s Ass

Text: Numbers 22

Just about every time that I’ve heard this story, the emphasis has been that if God can use a donkey to get his message across then certainly He can use “me” (the me being whoever was telling the story). But as I read the story today,I saw something very different. The focus seemed to shift from the cowering mule to the persistant angel.

Have you ever wondered what it takes for God to get through to us?  How many signals do we ignore? Or maybe a better question is why? What this account shows me, and so much of my life testifies to, is that God works in many ways, by many means, to get His message, His plan, across to me. The how of my missing may be more directly related to why. He is the hound of heaven, but I have become very good at tuning out the barking dog.

So I took some time to reflect on why I’ve been ignoring the barking dog.

I’m comfortable with the way things are.

I’m afraid.

I’m listening to something else.

I assume, or hope, the dog is barking for someone else.

I’ve come to accept the barking as just a part of life. Everybody has barking dogs, thy’re eveywhere, so what you going to do?

I am thankful as I have journey through this Lenten season that God has barked, spoken so clearly to me.  I started out the year thinking that I was going to focus on prayer.  While I have to a certain degree, it has been because my fear has driven me to it.  Having opportunity to teach a Suday School class where we discussed a book about pinpoint praying helped that focus as well. 

God hasn’t used a donkey to get through to me, unless you are considering my own metaphorical stubbornness.  He has however gotten my attention through some unusual things.  I heard him whisper that I had been worrying too much as I stepped on the scales every morning and saw the frustrating results of my emotional eating.  He answered my prayer about writing with a scholarship to  the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and then to me that it is time to stop dreaming and start doing.  For so long I have been praying about a particular issue that my husband has been struggling with for years and this past week during spiritual enrichment services the Spirit broke through.  And I felt God’s smile envelop me and assure me that he has heard my heart’s cry and not to worry because he’s been working in ways I cannot see because he loves my husband more than me.  I let him know that I’m okay with that.

I wish I could stay right here in this spiritual place, feeling encouraged and provided for.  I’d happily just pitch my tent and sit.  I hear him so well here.  But that thinking didn’t work for the disciples when they wanted to stay on the mountain.  So  I guess I’ll travel on, but I’m going to be listening harder.  No donkey’s going to have to get my message from God.

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