What do you see?

Tony Loeffler
Tony Loeffler

Can you remember the last time you set out to do something only to find out that there was an over riding higher principle operating in your life? This principal would not only get accomplished, but it would use part of your original plan to get you there. The very thing you originally set out to do was an important step in getting you to a certain place to fulfill an entirely different agenda. But, here you are frustrated like most of us would be because the very thing we are doing was not in the original plan. Well, welcome to the real world!

Many of us become very frustrated during this process. We have our plans, we have our ideas, we have our goals and agendas, and none of us enjoy when the game plan changes while in process. Some of us will even say that the reason this happens in people's lives is because there is no sense of focus.

I do not subscribe to this thinking, nor do I think it is accurate. Let's take the story of David and Goliath as one of our examples. First let me ask you this, can we really assume that David wasn't focused? I doubt it! In the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 17, verse 34 and 35, it tells us that David slew a lion and a bear when they came and took a lamb from his flock.

He would go after the animal, attack it and rescue the lamb from its mouth. I think you would agree with me that none of us would do a very good job in a battle with a lion or a bear if we weren't focused.

The question I have is this. In spite of David's focus, what happened in his life when he went to get a report for his father? The original purpose of David's journey to the battlefield was to check in on his brothers, not to engage Goliath in battle. As a matter of fact, I doubt that his father would have allowed him to go if he knew that he would be engaged in a battle with the best fighter in the Philistine army. He was a giant of a man and a skilled warrior. So, the Lord had to use the purpose of a concerned father to get David where he needed to be for this important battle.

Has this ever happened to you where one set of circumstances or a sudden change of events was used to get you to another location or even to a place of decision? Well, enjoy the journey instead of fighting it, for "Life is a donkey hunt".

Let's look now at a real "Donkey Hunt" story in the Bible. You will find it the book of 1 Samuel, Chapter 9, starting at verse 3. It tells us that the donkeys of Kish, Saul's father, were lost. Saul was asked by his Dad to take one of the servants and to go search for the lost donkeys. As you read this fascinating story, it becomes apparent that the Lord has to use the misfortune of the loss of Saul's father's donkeys to get Saul to the point of blessing.

I can remember having an incident like this in Cuba when I was doing a musical tour. I was traveling with a percussionist, Jimmy Medina, and accidentally slammed his fingers in the door of the van causing some injuries. We had to find a clinic to get him some medical attention and when we arrived they didn't even have an aspirin or band-aid.

On that trip, we never would have visited this clinic. However, because of this accident we were able to see the tremendous need they had and were able to return to this clinic with a good supply of medicines we had in our hotel room just waiting to find a location to deliver them. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don't think so. Unfortunately, my friend Jimmy had to suffer some pain for this to have occurred. How much discomfort are you willing to endure for the sake of a higher plan? Or, are you like most of us, one of the screamers?

I don't know if Saul and his servant screamed or not in their pursuit of those donkeys but I can imagine how frustrating it could have been. These were expensive donkeys and they needed to be found. They went through the hill country of Ephraim, through the land of Shalishah and there were no donkeys to be found there. Then they went through the land of Shaalim and they had the same results. Then, they went through the land of the Benjamites and still nothing.

Once they reached the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant in verse 5, "Come, let us return, lest my father cease to be concerned about the donkeys and become anxious for us." And in verse 6 the servant said to him, "Behold now, there is a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; all that he says surely comes true. Now let us go there, perhaps he can tell us about our journey on which we have set out."

Well Saul agreed and they went to see this man of honor. It just happened to be Samuel whom the Lord had spoken to the day before Saul's arrival. In verse 15 and 16 it says, "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he shall deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to me."

Also, in verse 20 it says. "And, as for the donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found."

Isn't it interesting that the Lord, who created the universe, chooses to use the concern of a loving father to get David to where he needs to be to fulfill what the Lord had in store for the ranks of Israel? To engage him in a fight with Goliath and defeat the Philistines which in turn energizes and encourages the people of the Lord. I can't help but wonder if David's Dad would have let him go had he knew the battle with Goliath was waiting. I don't think so. Likewise, could it be that this is the reason why the Lord has to operate this way with us?

And, what about some lost donkeys? Now this tops it all. Why didn't the Lord just reveal it to Saul in a dream or have a prophet speak directly to him and tell him where to go for the anointing? Or, better yet, reveal to him where the donkeys were right away so he didn't have to waste so much of his time looking. Answers to these questions are only offered by the foolish. We should all just relax a little when things seem to go in a different direction than the one we planned and wait to see what the Lord might be doing. I think we would all be surprised!

So, my advice is to relax and enjoy the journey. After all, in reality, "Life is a donkey hunt." Here is a song written by, Bruce Cockburn that I like to sing because it says it so well. The title is, "Child of the wind."

I love the pounding of hooves; I love engines that roar,
I love wild music of waves on the shore,
And the spiral perfection of a hawk when it sores,
I love my sweet woman down to the core,
There's roads and there's roads and they call can't you hear it?
Roads of the earth and roads of the spirit,
The best roads of all are the ones that aren't certain,
One of those is where you'll find me, till they drop the big curtain,
Hear the wind moan in the bright diamond sky,
These mountains are waiting, brown, green and dry,
I'm too old for the term but I'll use it anyway,
I'll be a child of the wind till the end of my day,
Little round planets in a big Universe,
Sometimes it looks blessed, sometimes it looks cursed,
Depends on what you look at....Obviously
Even more it depends on the way that you see.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.