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Donkeys and chocolate

I've always been the type of person who wants to do things perfectly.  I figure if I try hard enough I can eventually get things right.  One area that I've failed at though -again and again - is spending regular quality time with my Savior.  I've tried lots of different methods - The Bible in a Year,  a Proverb a day, topical studies, prayer journals etc...but as hard as I tried I kept coming up short.  I'd miss a few days here and there, feel guilty and give up.  A few weeks later I'd tell myself, this time I'm going to do it.  I will make myself wake up early...or stay up late - I will do this thing.  But there was a big problem - I didn't really care about the word of God.  I didn't really want to pray.  I was doing it because every sermon I ever heard said that if you want to get close to God (or at least feel close to Him, cuz He is always with you) you have to pray and read the bible.  Last year, a pastor and friend delivered a sermon that really changed the way I looked at "quiet times".  He said, if you are struggling with spending time with God - DON'T TRY HARDER.  If you tell yourself that you are going to read the bible every day and/or pray every day, you have already failed.  Even if you make yourself do it (which never lasts long) you will be doing it in your own strength.  Where you start, he said, is by asking God to give you a desire for His word...and a desire to spend time with Him in prayer.  That is too simple, I thought to myself.  There is not way it can be that easy.  But because every thing I had ever tried had already failed, I gave it a shot.  I started begging God to make His word come alive to me.  I asked Him to help me want to read it.  I asked Him to help me crave it.  And, I'm still in a bit of shock, but I am so excited to say - he TOTALLY answered my prayer.  Even the old testament has come alive to me.  Even verses about donkeys.

1 Samual 9:3 
"One day Kish’s donkeys got lost. So he said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants and go look for the donkeys.”

Isn't that one of the BEST verses ever?  

I think so, and here is why.  Saul's dad sent him on a hunt for his lost donkeys.  I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing both Saul and his dad were probably a bit peeved.  "What a waste of time", "I can't believe those dumb donkeys took off again", "There are so many better things that I could do with my time than look for silly donkeys!"  But they (Saul and his servant) didn't have a choice, so they looked, and looked and looked.  Eventually they found themselves in the town of Zuph.  They had been searching for a while and were about to give up, but Saul's servant suggested that they should visit Samuel.  Samuel was a prophet and perhaps he could tell him where the donkeys were.  Little did they know that Samuel had something to tell them that was much more important than where their donkeys were.  He would let them know that Saul was going to be the King!  

Did the donkeys just happen to wander off?  Was it just coincidence?  I don't think so!  I think this is just one of thousands of examples of God's sovereignty and how He is truly at work in all things.

So, when I can't find my cell phone anywhere - or I get lost on my way to an appointment - I have a choice.  I can get totally stressed out and angry, or I can ask God to remind me that He is at work and that there is a reason for EVERYTHING.  I am finding this especially encouraging as I raise my little ones.  There are so many times when I am trying to get an incredible project done, like my laundry pile...or, the dishes :), when one of my little ones falls down and starts bawling.  Or, even a bit more likely, 2 or 3 of my little ones start fighting over a toy.  Though my temptation is stress and/or frustration, I am finding when I focus on God's hand at work (usually teaching me about His will verses mine), my shoulders relax and I begin to trust Him a little bit more.

Even this blog post could be considered an example of God's sovereignty.  As I mentioned in another post, I really struggle in the area of sugar.  I quit for months at a time then I backslide.  Well, last night I backslid - pretty majorly.  I bought two dark chocolate bars (72%, so thats good right?) and planned on eating just a few squares.  Well, um, that totally didn't happen.  I ate both bars.  We are talking 800 calories in 10 minutes!  Not to mention the caffeine.  I ate so much that I literally felt sick to my stomach.  And, the caffeine kept me up ALL night.  But you know what - if I was able to sleep I wouldn't have written this blog.  And, perhaps there is someone, somewhere who needs to hear that God is at work in and around them despite (and even through) their weaknesses, their dire circumstances and/or even just their lost keys.

We serve an amazing God.  If you struggle, like I always have, with spending time with God on a regular basis...I want to encourage you  - STOP TRYING HARDER!  Just start BEGGING Him to give you a passion for His word and prayer.  He will answer - and perhaps, you might find yourself inspired by donkeys - or, at least verses (that you usually would have rushed right by) about them.  And maybe, the next time you spill your orange juice, you'll remember that if God can work through lost donkeys, He can work through spilled juice.


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