For many years, I wanted so badly to make my own decisions…to set my own path…and to simply be grown up already. At 22 years old, I can tell you that I still have quite a ways to go. There have been many times in my life that I prayed desperately for certain things…and God completely shut some doors that didn’t make any sense to me.
You see, I didn’t always want God’s input, His opinion, or His mighty hand standing in the way of my ways. Recently, someone told me that even God brings opposition. We generally view opposition as this big negative thing that only the enemy can bring. However, our God loves us enough to stop us from getting into a bigger mess than we can handle.
Many times, I wanted to bite off more than I could chew. I’ve lived in LA for almost five years now, and just recently developed some of the most amazing, authentic, godly friendships I’ve ever had. This made me wonder: why didn’t God bring me these friends 5 years ago? I was so alone. I prayed and prayed for good friends and God slammed that door in my face. This felt cruel to me…until I thought about what would have happened had God granted my wish in the wrong timing.
A few years ago, I was still very young, very immature, spiritually sunken, lost, and selfish. If God had put great friends in my life, I wouldn’t have appreciated them or nurtured those relationships. I was in such a dark place that I could have burned bridges, hurt others, hurt myself, and may have ended up even further from growth. You see, God wanted so badly for me to have the good, abundant, blessed life. But I wasn’t ready to handle that just yet.
Imagine giving your grandmother’s pearls to a baby. Next, you handover your favorite lipstick. Lastly, high heels. While all of those things are wonderful and lovely, a baby will be too immature to know how to properly care for and nurture these fine things in life. I was that baby. God could have pushed me out into the world as a spiritually immature infant in high heels, and I would have fallen flat on my face and ended up far more damaged than I began.
This is a strange concept for some of us…to think that God creates opposition or stands in the way of any of our desires. We think this as if each want and need we believe is valid is somehow God ordained. Any good parent would stop their child in their tracks if they were in harm’s way.
In Numbers 22, Balaam struggled with this concept as well as he saddled up his donkey. Numbers 22:22 says:
“But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him.”
Balaam’s donkey resisted this journey, and even ran off of the path and into a field. Balaam beat this donkey…making sure that he would get back to the course and keep going. Next, the donkey pressed up against a wall, crushing Balaam’s foot. The beatings continued…over and over again. Balaam was frustrated. He just wanted to do things his way and stay on the path that he felt was best. He was literally between a rock and a hard place.
Take the time to read this powerful story of scripture below:
“Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.
Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”
I wonder how many times God has had to look at me as I stray from His precious plan for me. I ponder how many times He has had to say “Why are you beating me? Haven’t I always been faithful to you?”
As I think about this, it brings tears to my eyes. Our amazing God has to deal with me. No matter how much He guides me, blesses me, and takes care of me, I stray. I wander. I do things my way. Perhaps this week you could challenge yourself to stop seeing God’s opposition as an irritation, and to start viewing it as amazing grace.
God is looking at you, His heart breaks for you, and all He wants to do is to oppose your reckless path and save you. God is sovereign even though opposing our destructive plans. What is God whispering to your heart today? Perhaps it is similar to something He has put on mine…
“I’ve been carrying you through your whole entire life. Why don’t you trust me?”
God is trying to carry us through the darkness that life brings, and if we allow Him to, He will guide us in the narrow path. Will we stray? Will we beat Him? Will we continue to fight Him? Or will we have trust, faith, and obedience?