Not So Patient Waiting

As much as they demand, fuss, argue with me and one another, and make me laugh, is it any wonder I treat these two goofballs like family? “Magic” and “Elpis” (pronounced “L-peace”, the Hebrew word for hope) are my wonderful, inquisitive, fun-loving donkeys who patrol the pastures here at our Cross-Dubya ranch. Whenever I’m outside, they’re aware of my presence; and they make sure I’m aware of theirs. Many folks who haven’t been around donkeys think them stupid, stubborn, or lazy. I can assure you they are none of those things.

Inquisitive and intelligent animals, my donkeys have taught me many things. One example is how much I have to donkey-proof my gates, doors, water hydrants, and anything else they can get into. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found “Magic” standing in my backyard or driveway because he figured out how to unlock and open a gate. Once I awoke to a strange tapping on my bedroom window. As I opened the blinds, there was “Elpis”, with her head cocked to one side, looking at me as if to ask, “Why haven’t you fed me yet?”

Then there’s the morning I had low water pressure for my shower. Thinking I had a burst water pipe, I dressed quickly and went outside to investigate. Nearing the end of my drive, I watched “Elpis” turning one of the water hydrants in my pastures on and off with her mouth. She would turn it on full force, run to the other end of the pasture, kicking up her hooves, then return and turn it off. If it weren’t for the floods of water running down both sides of my long driveway, it might have been funny. I discovered she left all the other pasture hydrants turned on when she moved to another.

I’ve learned that if I give them puzzles to solve, a maze in the barn or an obstacle to deal with, occupying their minds for a while. They find fewer things to get into then. Can’t we all admit to that in our lives too?

As for stubborn, I’ve discovered they aren’t stubborn as much as they’re contemplative. It seems donkeys are deep thinkers, and they consider all the factors before deciding to do something. You can almost see it in their eyes when presented with something new. And lazy? How many of us walk 10 or more miles each day after standing guard watches throughout the night to protect the herd?

What I’ve realized they are, however, IMPATIENT. If I’m taking too long to finish my morning coffee, we hear about it. They’ll move to the fence and begin braying loud until they hear the garage door going up and the UTV starting. If you’ve never heard a donkey bray, click the link at the bottom of my post. I sometimes wonder if my neighbors (acres away) are going to call, asking me to go feed them so they can return to sleep.

When my neighbor or I bring them a treat, they run to the fence and push each other around to see who gets the first oatmeal cookie. Not feeding them horse treats fast enough? They’ll paw the ground with their hooves and reach through the fence to grab my arm in their mouth. For as deep-thinking as they can be sometimes, when they know what they want, they’ll pester the bejeebers out of you until they get it.

How donkey-like are you in your Christian walk? #CrossDubya #Patience #SpiritualGrowth Click To Tweet

Lately, I’ve been considering how donkey-like I sometimes appear to God. When I want something and He’s not giving it to me fast enough, do I stand at His gates and bray (er, pray) thinking He’ll tire of hearing me? Do I relax and enjoy being in His presence or pull and tug on His arm to get what I want rather than what He wants to give me? And when He wants me to do something, do I stand there and contemplate all the potential outcomes or respond immediately?

While I love my donkey friends dearly and find great pleasure in their antics (sometimes), I realize God gave me dominion over them for a reason. In my Christian life, I shouldn’t be a petulant little child who gets into everything, demands attention, and throws tantrums when I’m not getting what I want. Instead, I should react to His guidance in my soul, mature in His word and understanding, and grow to produce more spiritual fruit in my life. I reckon that if I do these things, and wait patiently, He’ll give me more treats (blessings) than my cup can hold.

God’s blessings,

Donkey Braying – YouTube 

54 thoughts on “Not So Patient Waiting

  1. How interesting! I had no idea donkeys are so smart and have so much personality. After reading this blog post, I re-read Numbers 22 , and it brought it to life in a new way. There’s no telling what Elpis & Magic have seen out there in your pastures.

    1. Amen Ms. Dottie. I can’t tell you what all my donkey friends, and other animals, have seen in our pastures, but I can say with certainty that the Holy Spirit resides within my family, and I’ve long suspected that animals can sense that in people. Perhaps that’s why the animals are so gentle and at peace with me when I come near.

  2. It is amazing the lessons your animals are bringing to us all! May I rest in Him and wait patiently, trusting His hand to guide and bless.
    PS – Give Magic and Elpis a hug for me!

  3. I like the idea that’s it’s all about RELATIONSHIPS around your place. Need to keep that in mind each day…the “heavenly rancher” –my owner, is watching out for me even if our timing doesn’t seem in tandem at some points!

  4. JD,
    We are indeed impatient people. When it comes to animals, they sure like their routines, especially when it comes to feeding and treats. But what I thought of in your devotion today was the fact that those Donkey duo’s know you and your character well enough to anticipate a favorable response. Like our great and wonderful God, we know the Master and have come to trust the good things that come out of the relationship we have with Him. I am amazed at how my own cup of “treats” or blessings is overflowing. We know that He is a good and loving God that still requires obedience. And when we find ourselves impatiently miserable, He is right there to offer His forgiveness.
    “Treat” your dynamic duo well and often!

    1. How very true Mr. Ben. We often forget how much we should be grateful for all that God does, and often times prevents that we aren’t even aware of, for us. I’ll be sure to treat them well my friend.

  5. oh yes, but what happens when a predator is foolish enough to enter? Then the worth of them is worth all of this and amen. Thanks, J.D. for the lesson and memory. Many of the farm kids would use a donkey to train a steer to lead for the fair or for a show animal. Works so very well. Blessings. Ol’ papa

    1. Absolutely Mr. Terry. To see “Magic” stand guard atop the hill, and then bray loudly and charge off toward a fence line when a coyote dares enter his territory. It’s something to see. Sparks fly from his hooves against the shale rock. His nostrils flare, and his eyes exhibit a wild-eyed look of determination. You’ve probably noticed how donkeys have such muscular necks (as compared to a horse) and why they bite each others necks and tussle with their heads and neck. It’s because, like a Great Pyrenees dog, they kill coyotes or other predators (including a stray dog that wanders into their domain they perceive as a predator) by grabbing the back of their neck with their mouths and shaking them to death. Them, they flatten them with their hooves. It’s a violent death.

  6. Uncle Jim, Kim and I reading this over coffee. Smiles, laughs and a better understanding of our faith always seems to follow when I read your posts! Love you both, Stay well, Bob, Kim and the boys

  7. It was great to learn these truths about donkeys. I think I can be the same as them when it comes to faith too. Thanks for sharing this reminder of how we should act.

    I especially enjoyed how they turned on and off your water faucet, lol. I know water is important but it was funny to read.

    1. Yes ma’am, they sure do. Sometimes, especially when I’m not paying enough attention to them, they’ll sneak up behind me and nip at my backside or my shoulder. It’s as if they’re saying, “Hey Papa, you WILL NOT ignore us.” 😀

  8. I’ve been guilty of all the donkey-like behaviors you humorously present here.

    My favorite line: “I reckon that if I do these things, and wait patiently, He’ll give me more treats (blessings) than my cup can hold.”

    You reckon correctly, my friend.

  9. I truly never knew how bright and clever donkeys could be, J. D., and yours sound like they hit the jackpot in the areas of intelligence and craftiness. 🙂 And once again, you’ve been able to take everyday life at the ranch and turn it into valuable, memorable lessons for all of us.
    Blessings!

    1. Thank you Ms. Martha. I have to admit, I too am amazed at how God can use these animals and all of His creation to teach me. I’m learning how I can apply His word into this world, as I find scripture coming to mind when He shows me things He wants me to see. What a mighty God we serve.

    1. Yes ma’am, I sure need lots of patience too. Isn’t it funny how when we ask God for more of His spiritual fruit in our lives, He not only gives it to us, but provides the exercise we need for it to grow. 🙂

  10. I’m chuckling. I have an impatient poodle who paws the furniture if I’m slow at hopping to get what he wants. I didn’t know donkeys stood watch though the night. Your donkeys have impressed me. I hope I’ll have their good traits and shed the rest.

    1. You and me both Ms. Debbie. I recognized that I have far more donkey-like traits within me than I would care to admit. Alas, God knows my friend, and I’m so glad He’s a patient teacher.

  11. I recognized a few “donkey” qualities in myself! But I am here to proclaim that impatience can be softened. Maybe not cured, but diminished. I wish I could share this read with my Irish setter O’Malley who has become increasingly impatient as he ages. He, too, loves those extra edibles, especially of the human variety. He also enjoys making it verbally known that he wants what he wants when he wants it. And that is usually NOW. Enjoyed your blog, and I am so happy life is a little easier at the CrossDubya with cooler temps and recent rain showers.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Isn’t it wonderful that God always gives us rest after He’s led us through His refining fire? I can appreciate O’Malley and his desire for NOW. I’m finding that distasteful trait in myself more these days too. Something perhaps God is working on through His donkeys. Balaam is proof He uses them for His will, not ours.

  12. I laughed my head off reading about your donkeys, J.D. They must be hilarious to live with. So talented to play all those pranks on you! I guess I’m impatient too, like them, but I’m thankful that God is patient with me as I grow up spiritually. Blessings, dear brother.

    1. 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed Ms. Karen. While I’ve yet to hear your laughter in person dear sister, I look forward to that day. The thought of it, knowing that I’ve brought even a little moment of laughter and joy into your day, pleases me. God’s blessings ma’am.

  13. In spite of being a farm girl my entire life, I never owned a donkey, but I’ve heard a lot of stories! They have so much personality and it seems your two fit that description. Loved the message you share. We certainly need their tenacity when we are seeking a closer relationship with our Lord. Blessings, my friend. Hope all is well on the ranch.

    1. Thank you Ms. Katherine. So grateful to hear of our answered prayers for rain in your area and that your hay harvest is happening soon. I pray it’s great quality and an ample supply my friend. God’s blessings.

  14. What a humorous glimpse into donkey minds and behaviors and how amazingly like them we can be. Thanks for such an entertaining and good message, J.D.!

  15. Well. I’ve always thought it quite humorous that Balaam was rebuked by a donkey. It’s not as funny that I’ve been rebuked by your donkeys. Except I know it was the Lord speaking through them (and you). Thanks, in an ouchy kind of way.

  16. Oh to behave like a donkey in persistence but in a way that honors the God who formed me in his image. Thanks for this entertaining, informative, and enriching experience at the Cross Dubya ranch, JD!

    1. I was hoping you would get a chance to read Ms. Josie. Nothing compared to your buddy “Howie”, but most grateful you enjoyed. I can’t wait for you to come through Texas on your book tour to ready “Howie’s Broken Hee Haw” to my pals. Don’t forget the oatmeal cookies. 🙂

  17. J.D., I smiled through the description of your fun-loving donkeys. What personalities! And I’m glad you set the record straight about these misunderstood animals. As always, another great analogy to the spiritual life. I pray to not be a stubborn and inpatient child of God.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. I thought much those same words as God was sharing His lesson with me ma’am. “Please Lord, help me to learn not to be so thoughtful that I don’t act when you call. Help me to be more patient as You work what only You can do.”

  18. I never knew donkeys were so smart or mischievous or liked to puzzle things out. I confess to trying to consider all the factors before deciding to do something. Sometimes that’s good: sometimes it’s delayed obedience. And I can be donkey-like in impatience. I’m glad God is so patient with us, and I pray for His grace to be more patient and trustful in waiting on Him.

    1. Oh, they do like to “puzzle” Ms. Barbara. When I can, I’ll create a maze for them through the barn or feedlot, and then place a treat for them at the end. While “Elpis”, the dainty Jenny (female) donkey will work her way through the maze with amazing accuracy, “Magic”, who is a larger Mammoth donkey will simply walk over or through the hay bales to get to his treat. LOL

    1. So glad you enjoyed Ms. Teresa. As I mentioned to another sister in Christ earlier, I love the thoughts of bringing a smile to my friends. Thank you for making my day ma’am.

  19. I knew practically nothing about donkeys until now, J.D., but your description makes me love these ornery creatures. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget your unusual question. Am I donkey-esque? Well, I must admit, I see some of myself in Magic and Elpis. How awesome is God to make these animals to teach us His ways. I’m feeling a little bit like Balaam. Thanks, J.D.!

    1. Am right there with you Ms. Annie. I’m constantly amazed at how God is using everything here at our Cross-Dubya to teach me His precepts. I call it “God’s classroom”. Thank you for commenting ma’am.

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