Part 2- Wayward and stubborn?
Wayward? God is such a patient Father. Praise His wonderful name for that. I am sure if He could ever run out of patience with anyone, it would be me. I can honestly say that my intentions are good, but so often they don´t turn out that way. I can honestly say that the desire to do right is overpowering at time, and yet I will do wrong. The war between me, the flesh, and me, the spirit, is ongoing and furious. God has to get my attention frequently and bring me back, wounded and bleeding, to His place of sweet peace. The Bible speaks of the tongue being such a small part of the body and is yet so powerful. I know mine can sure get the best of me. You´ve heard the saying, “Open mouth, insert foot”? How I wish I could get my foot into my mouth more quickly. It would prevent me from saying things that are hurtful and unkind; things that I later regret. My tongue is so wayward I often wish I didn´t have one.
Stubborn? My daddy use to tell me I was the hard-headedest kid he had ever seen. God surely feels the same. Once I set my mind on something it´s like a steel trap and changing it may take an act of God. While living in Honduras, I became well acquainted with donkeys, which are called burros there. Growing up in Kentucky, I spent a lot of time with horses. They may be cousins of some sort, but horses and donkeys are as different as day and night. Truly, a horse, if it likes you, has a desire to please you and have fellowship with you. A donkey has no desire to please anyone or anything, and would just as soon kick you as look at you.
There was a man who lived near my little house in Honduras who cut and sold wood for the cooking fires. He had a donkey. He and the donkey would head out before daylight toward the jungle where they spent the day. In the afternoon they would return, the man trudging wearily along, axe on his shoulder, soaked in sweat, his head down and his back bend under the load of wood he carried. The donkey also was loaded with wood and he would follow along after the man. One afternoon for no apparently reason the donkey stopped in the middle of the road just beyond my little house. The man came to the end of the rope, jerked to a halt not knowing the donkey had stopped behind him, stumbled and dropped his load of wood. When the man turned back to see what had happened to the donkey, the donkey laid his ears back, bared his teeth, and stomped one hoof. Then he dropped his head, his chin almost touching the dust in the road and closed his eyes. The man pulled on the rope, he pushed from behind, he shouted, he begged, he threatened, he said some very unrepeatable things to the donkey. The donkey remained unmoved. The man picked up his wood and continued his trip home. A short time later he came back with several of his small children and a bucket. He offered the donkey water. No response. The children offered the donkey handfuls of grass that they pulled from my yard. No response. The man unloaded the donkey, and he and his children carried the wood to their house. Throughout the evening I would glance outside to see if the now unloaded donkey had wandered on home. Nope, he was still there, nose nearly touching the dust. In the morning when I got up the first thing I did was to take a look outside. The donkey was still there. The man stopped by with a bucket that morning and asked if I would be kind enough to offer the donkey a drink of water from time to time during the day. I asked him what was wrong with his donkey. With a very Latin sort of shrug he smiled and said, “The devil is sitting on his neck, pushing his nose into the dirt, whispering bad thoughts into his ears. But he is only a burro, not very smart, and very stubborn. When he is tired of listening to the devil, he shake the devil off and return to his work.” From time to time throughout the day I went out to offer the donkey a drink from the bucket. It was hot there on the north coast of Honduras. Not unusual for it to reach 110ºF by mid-day and the humidity was often nearly 100%. The donkey, however, ignored me. He stood there under the full force of the sun all day. The man came back from the jungle in the late afternoon, his load of wood on his own back larger than usual. He trudged by not giving the donkey even a glance. Moments later, the donkey whished his tail and slowly raised his head. He shook himself like he had just awaken from a long nap and slowly followed the man home. The next morning the man and his donkey went to cut firewood as though nothing had happened.
Are you wondering where I am going with this story? Well, I must admit that sometimes I am very much like that donkey. I let the devil get a toehold in my thoughts and attitude, and he pushes my face into the dirt. Do I like it? No, but for reasons that leave me baffled, I am too stubborn to shake him off. Too proud to admit that I have once again messed up and need to ask for some help. Too proud to ask my patient Father to forgive me and help me. I sometimes wonder if I am the only person who is rather donkey-like.