I know – it sounds weird. A talking donkey?
But haven’t you ever wanted God to show up in some unmistakably God sort of way? Like He did for Balaam with a talking donkey in the Bible?
Thirteen years ago, I was fighting a deep depression and unsettling doubts. I desperately wanted to know God was real even as I pushed Him away. I lamented that He didn’t send me a talking donkey.
That day at the Grotto in May, unbeknownst to me, my husband sat reading the story about Balaam and his talking donkey.
Stubborn Balaam made him think of me – of six years ago when I knew God was telling me to rest after a difficult year in Thailand.
I rested for a bit, but within months I was working for an organization that left me even more wounded.
Like Balaam with his donkey, I pushed onward. I ran toward the finish line with an ever worsening limp.
I could be trampled over, mislabeled, betrayed, dismissed, mugged in my own backyard, and my hands tied behind my back until I was laid off, but I was not going to quit that race.
Balaam kept beating his donkey to get her back on course. Finally, she laid down and refused to move. An Angel of the Lord stood in her way.
“Why have you beaten your poor donkey these three times?” the Angel asked. “I was here blocking your way the whole time because you’re getting way ahead of yourself.”
Could God have been blocking my way all along, keeping me from doing the very thing He’d put in my heart? Could He possibly have been telling me these past two years to step out of the race?
I thought of Scriptures that say to run the race with all we’ve got and couldn’t imagine they’d be consistent with what I was now hearing.
When I read them again in context though, I saw they’re not about the Puritan work ethic of America at all.
They’re about pressing on to keep the faith. And they don’t even say to run fast, but to endure. Just make it to the end with your faith still intact. Sacrifice whatever it takes to lay hold of God’s promises.
To run with that kind of endurance, I’d have to step out of this other race for a time. I’d have to own that it really was a bus that caused these injuries, and they really do need time to heal.
It hasn’t been easy giving up the search for work. It’s been really difficult listening to people I love tell me all the reasons they think what I’m doing is wrong. I’ve questioned how sensible this is, whether I’m actually healing, if we heard God clearly.
But the man who once pushed me to write at least 40 hours a week now keeps encouraging me to cease all activity. To see my healing as my work. To press on until I find myself living out of surplus instead of deficit…
To be continued with the event that instigated this telling in the first place. The first two-thirds of the story set the context for the crazy experience that later took place.
Click here to read Part III of Running the Race.
 Numbers 22
 Slightly modified version of Num 22:32 in The Message translation.
 Heb 12:1-2, Phil 3:12-16, 1 Tim 6:11-12, 2 Tim 4:7