More times than I would like to admit, I find myself reinacting one of the roles in the story of Balaam from Numbers 22.
Before I explain why, I have to give credit where it is due. I wouldn’t have been thinking about this story today without having read this devotional from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It talks about not being able to see our own blind spots – not wanting to see or hear those that God has placed in an instructive position in our lives.
As usual I cast myself in the role of the good guy while I read, so this morning I was cheering for the poor donkey in this story – You go, Jenny! Tell that stubborn man what he is missing! Make him see how wrong he is about this situation and how he treated you! (Because the Bible does refer to the donkey as “her”, I don’t think it inappropriate to call her Jenny – as opposed to Jack.)
Further, I was all about some self-righteous projections as well.
That’s just like _______! Every time I tried and tried to tell ______ , but oh, no! They wouldn’t listen to me and now look where they are.
Then I started to look at the reflection questions in the devotional – what are your blind spots?
Well, phooey! I started to wonder if I wasn’t more like Balaam- beating the donkey and trying to make it go where I thought it should go – not recognizing that its obstinance stemmed from a desire to protect me rather than to stand against me.
The difference is- that God did finally open both the donkey’s mouth and Balaam’s eyes. The donkey clearly stated her intent to protect, and Balaam clearly saw the angel of the Lord blocking his path, telling him he was headed for destruction.
It would be so wonderful if people would always speak their intentions as clearly as Jenny did that day. Or if we could all open our eyes to the spiritual dangers that surround us so that we can better appreciate those who are trying to help, but (like Jenny) have limited resources or abilities to do so.
God took up Jenny’s case that day, because she was clearly operating out of a spiritual awareness of His desires for her life and the life of one she cared about.
Sometimes I wonder why God isn’t taking up either my case OR the case of that person standing against me. Why doesn’t one of us miraculously start speaking in a way that the other can better understand – or why doesn’t one of us suddenly see in the spirit realm and understand what a help the other is truly being?
I think maybe because neither one is completely focused on God. We may think we are- but how often does our focus on God get out of focus – stigmatized (like an astigmatism) by something that is misshapen in our heart?
God, I pray today, that you would open my eyes to the places in my heart that have become an astigmatism to my soul. That you would guide my heart to see clearly what the actions of others may be conveying – even when all I hear is braying.
You are in control today,Lord. I thank you for your patience with me and your concern for me. Thank you for putting Jennies and Jacks in my way to protect me when I just can’t see. You are amazing, God! I praise you today – thank you so much for your great, great love.