We are stubborn people. We become blinded to those around us, due to the big ole’ letter “I”. The power of a single letter in our lives is spoken thousands of times each day. It’s a dangerous letter because it stands alone. The control it has over the rest of the sentences that roll off of our lips is contagious. It is first. Demanding. It is extremely narcissistic in nature, cold, and downright mean. “I” looks out for its best friend, good ole’ number “1” They are quite the pair!
God laughs when “I” and number “1” are planning more for each other. He is a jealous God, He wants to be the only "1" on the throne of your heart and mine. God will not share sacred space with “I” or even with the ones you love. (Now that's an eye-opener! )
The Holy Spirit is a gentlemen. He knocks quietly on the door of “I” hoping that we will listen to the still small voice and whispers from the Father. God wants “I” and number “1” to stop, turn around, gaze deep into his eyes, and kick ourselves off of the throne of our own hearts.
God is stubborn in his love for you and me. He will not give up, even when we are binging on our self reliance. God’s stubborn love plants a seed of encouragement, a challenging nudge, or sometimes a body slam.
In Numbers 22: 21-39, we find Balaam. He set out on a trip because he wanted his way. God was not pleased that he refused to listen. God was angry. He sent an angel to get his attention in an usual way. The donkey carrying him saw the angel and tried three times to save Balaam from destruction. The donkey slammed Balaam’s leg into a wall, but he refused to take the hint. Consumed with his personal agenda, he took his anger out on his faithful donkey.
Finally the donkey sat down. God opened the donkey’s mouth, and spoke directly to him. Balaam’s eyes were opened, and he realized his faithful donkey was trying to protect him from his selfishness and death by an angel! What a way to go! The Holy God used Balaam’s own animal to speak to him!
I recently encountered a donkey. He ran to the fence and spoke to me. He brayed and hee-hawed hoping I would turn and give him my attention and a french fry. I ignored him. He persisted. I gave in, turned around and gave him a french fry and nearly my index finger, too! He smiled at me with his massive teeth! Donkeys are one of God’s most unusual and funny creatures, and he has much to say to anyone that will listen.
We must slow down and listen to the gentle warnings of the Holy Spirit, the nudging from the throne of God, or even sometimes the braying sound coming from those closest to us.
When we do stop to listen, our spiritual eyes begin to open, and the self “I” becomes a “we” and the number “1” turns into a number “2” and more, because we are all part of the family of God!
His stubborn love in pursuing us is unmatched, immutable, unstoppable, and even sometimes unusual! You and I can’t change it, no matter how stubborn we think we are. His love sends angels to warn us, and maybe even a talking donkey when we refuse to listen to anyone else. The interferences we are experiencing in not getting our own way in this life may be the very donkey God is using to speak to us. The braying heehaw is not going to stop! The stubborn love of God is not going to stop pursuing you and me! The cross is living proof of that! So grab some french fries and meet me at the fence. God has much to say to us all!