The Man and His Donkey

There is a story of a man and his donkey. One day the donkey fell into a well that was no longer being used because it had run dry. The man heard the donkey braying loudly and looked over the edge. There was the donkey standing upright at the bottom of the well whining loudly about the fall into the well. The man called his neighbors searching for a way to pull the donkey from the well. After all solution suggestions were exhausted, it was agreed that the most humane thing to do was to shovel sand into the well so that the donkey wouldn’t suffer from a long death.
The work began, each neighbor throwing shovels of sand onto the donkey. The noise of the braying and whining of the donkey was so loud that the men couldn’t even look each other in the face for the sorrow they were feeling. This deafening noise from the donkey continued for some time and then there was silence. With trepidation, the man and his neighbors crept to the side of the well. To their astonishment the donkey was shaking the sand from his back, stomping it with his feet and rising higher to ground level. Now with joy the man and his neighbors shoveled sand, knowing that they were working with the donkey for his rescue.
Each morning you and I rise with plans for our day. On some days, weeks or even months it feels as if we have fallen into a pit, and when we pray it feels like God is only throwing sand on us instead of just lifting us from the pit. Satan is there whispering in our ear that “God doesn’t listen” or “God doesn’t care” or “because of our sins we are just too far from God.”
Recently I have been reading a lot of Psalms as I have gone through an “in the pit” kind of year. Did you realize that David brayed and whined in his Psalms to God? But, did you know that after he was done with the braying, he always shook off the sand and dirt, stomped it a little by thanking and praising God? Think about David for a second, he was a lad (yep, that is how the Bible describes him) when Samuel anointed him to be king. Do you know he didn’t become king until he was 30? So let’s say a lad is 18 (and I personally think it is much younger)—he had to wait at least 12 years for God to honor his promise. In that time David was sought out by the king and army as a traitor deserving death. Can you imagine the pit David might have felt he was in? I know that to God in my prayers I have whined or brayed loudly and often. And then there are moments that I am reminded to be thankful and to praise—shake off the sand and rise out of the pit.
People like to quote the text in Jeremiah 29:11, but they often forget about the 12th and 13th verses which is the icing on the cake: 11)”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12) Then you will call {whine, bray, praise, thank} on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
– Lori Abbott


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