If there ever was a year at Logos Academy that we wanted to kick the donkey in our path, 2015 was it. Roughly half of our tax credit funding, about $750,000, appears to be lost due in large part to the Pennsylvania state budget impasse. That battle still lingers on 211 days and counting.
Like a stubborn donkey that refuses to listen, we have not been able to move this obstacle out of our path. Irritation, frustration, and anger, if allowed to simmer, might cause us to resort to metaphorically beat or kick that donkey out of our way.
The Bible tells a story about a man named Balaam who had a stubborn donkey who refused to obey him. Numbers 22 tells the story of how Balaam was summoned by the Moabites to pronounce a curse on the people of Israel. As Balaam made his way to the king of the Moabites to curse Israel, his donkey saw what Balaam could not: the angel of the Lord blocking the way. Irritated, frustrated and angry, Balaam began beating his donkey into submission but the donkey refused to budge.
After three beatings, the Lord finally opened the donkey’s mouth to reveal to Balaam that the donkey’s action proved to be for Balaam’s good. That stubborn donkey was protecting Balaam from the sword carried by the angel of the Lord. The immovable donkey was keeping Balaam from pronouncing a curse on God’s people. Balaam was being taught a powerful lesson: Don’t kick the donkey! I recently plastered that phrase to the wall of my office.
Events that look like they will harm us are ones that God loves to use for our good. The Old Testament patriarch, Joseph learned this lesson well. He was mistreated by his brothers who sold him into slavery, falsely accused of rape by his employer’s wife, thrown into prison, and forgotten by those he helped in prison. One might say that Joseph had plenty of donkeys to kick. Yet, Joseph trusted God and remained faithful. Years after his brother’s mistreatment he told them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Joseph didn’t kick the donkey.
Jesus himself deserved nothing but a life of ease and blessing as he went around blessing, healing and helping others. Instead he faced numerous stubborn donkeys on his way: false accusations, questions about his identity, claims that he was possessed by demons, a gross miscarriage of justice in his trial, a wooden cross used to torture and kill him. Yet, Jesus endured the cross, scorned its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus didn’t kick the donkey.
We have a choice to see the donkeys in our path as obstacles keeping us from progress or as opportunities to see God work in surprising ways. That irritating sickness, difficult relationship, obstinate legislative process, increased line of credit, loss of tax credit funds can be seen in one of two ways: obstacles or opportunities for God to shine.
We don’t yet have a full vision of how the Lord is going to sort out what has been a frustrating financial hardship for Logos Academy. We do have a joyful obligation though to trust the God who puts donkeys in our path for our good. Faith reminds us that all things work together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). God is teaching us at Logos Academy and we are patiently learning: Don’t kick the donkey.