Everywhere I go, people ask me about my donkey, Flash. Maybe they've read about him here on my blog, or heard me speak on "Donkey Principles," and they wonder how he's doing and what he's been up to lately. I usually say that he's busy living the good life out there in the pasture these days. The spring grass is coming up early and he's hardly touched the hay in the barn. He's got his soft winter coat that curls into ringlets in wet weather and he still sports that devilish scar across his nose from his reckless youthful days. He hasn't attempted any daring escapades lately, for which I'm thankful. Flash brings a smile to my face every single day....and now he's made it into some of my artwork. Today's image (above) is one of my recent pieces that's part of a series I'm creating. I might feature some of these here on my blog if ya'll will indulge me. :)
The past few days I've been in and out of the barn, where I'm painting a bookcase for a client. Flash is great company, even though he is roped off from my painting area. He gets as close as he can to inspect my work. I feel like if he had thumbs he'd give the the "thumbs up" signal to show his approval. When I go out there, I like to bring him baby carrots - just a few. He LOVES them! His big rubbery lips gently lift them from my palm and into his mouth so he can crunch on them with delight. When he's finished, he will nose my pockets for more and pretend he's nibbling on my jacket, just in case I come up with another treat. If I bring treats TOO often he gets greedy and ornery, so I have to limit them, even though I don't like to. I hate to see him stomp his feet and pout, which he does quite well when he doesn't get his way.
Shoot. Flash has taught me so much about life in the time that we've had him. Maybe it seems strange to you that I hear God speaking to me through that silly guy, but I really do. It's as if God plopped him into our lives just so he could be a continual illustration of faith, character and grace. Every time I look out into the pasture and see him plodding from one end to the other, or grazing voraciously on grass or fraternizing with the horses next door, there is some kind of truth to be found in his humble existence.
To me, Flash is a reminder that God speaks.
He speaks through the simplest of things.
And He moves in the most unexpected ways.
And He uses the most unlikely of characters.
Flash reminds me that God has always loved the underdog, the person voted "least likely to succeed," the outcast and the sinner. My donkey, although cute, has not done a lick of work around here to deserve his room and board....and yet we love and care for him - much the same way our heavenly Father cares for us in our undeserving state. Mostly, we look for handouts and free goodies from our master - even when we have been given everything that we need - we think we need more. We stomp and pout and cop an attitude. And God, in his wisdom, sometimes has to withold the things we want so badly because He wants to shape our character and use us in ways that giving us everything would spoil.
I know most of you don't have a long-eared donkey in your backyard, but I have a hunch that God has placed other things in your life that He is speaking through. Listen, God can reveal himself in a sinkful of dishes, a load of laundry, a traffic jam, Lego creations and spilled milk. He can reach through our icals, our google docs, our e-readers and tablets and modern conveniences and whisper the ancient truths that have stood since the beginning of time.
That He loves you.
He knows you.
He cares for you.
He created you.
He calls you by name.
Today's Small Thing is simply to listen. Listen to the rhythms of your life - ok maybe the chaos of your life - and hear that still small voice. So often we miss it because we think it will only come during a holy prayer time, when in actuality our whole day can be a running conversation with Him. Look at each task on your To Do List as an opportunity for an illustration of faith and character and grace. God longs to speak to our hearts if only we'll slow down long enough to pay attention.
What "unlikely" ways has God spoken to you in the past? Is there a situation you're currently facing that is bringing home a truth in a way you might not have expected? If you could give me a "laundry illustration" (i.e. a spiritual lesson derived from a mundane task) what would it be? Look at the events of your day and think about how you could apply God's word to each thing. That, my friend, is God speaking.
I would love to hear how God speaks to you today.
Song of the Day: Word of God Speak, Mercy Me