What’s Your Problem?
Balaam’s biggest problem was his donkey.
As he made his journey along the road, donkey veered off into a field.
Annoyed, Balaam beat donkey to get it back on track.
Then poor old donkey pressed too close to a wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot.
Balaam yelped and beat donkey a second time.
Finally, donkey stopped moving altogether and collapsed onto the ground in a heap and, you guessed it, in the first historical recording of road rage…
…Balaam beat donkey a third time.
This problem called donkey was keeping Balaam from getting from A to B.
Donkey was insubordinate.
In Balaam’s words, Donkey was ‘making a fool of him.’
Balaam had every right to be angry at his biggest problem.
But donkey was not Balaam’s biggest problem that day.
You would think a prophet might have a clue what’s really going on.
You might expect a seer of heavenly visions and a man who can talk to God on behalf of others and receive immediate responses, might twig that God is up to something.
But Balaam’s spiritual blindness is exposed.
A donkey can see more than him right now.
His biggest problem is actually an Angel of the Lord stood in the road with a sword ready to discipline him for his disobedient, wandering heart.
Donkey is the tip of the iceberg.
Balaam’s biggest problem comes into view, just in time to avoid disaster.
We all have problems to face.
Quite often the problems we think we have, are not the real problem. It’s possible at least, that some of the problems causing us the most frustration are multi-layered. What appears to be the problem (donkey), is not the real problem (Angel in the road).
Balaam’s issue was that he lacked awareness. It could have been disastrous. I propose that there are at least 3 kinds of awareness that leaders need when facing frustrating problems.
1. Self-awareness. It took me a while to realise that my frustration with others in leadership, was a problem in me, first and foremost. In the unseen lurked a sinister impatient frustration born out of a selfish need for success to validate myself, that person (a) and person (b) and sometimes everyone – was keeping me from. I wanted to beat the donkey, but I was as much the problem if not more. Self-
awareness is the ability step back, assess the problem, and honestly reflect on your own motives and values. Before you beat the donkey, discover if you are the real problem.
2. Spiritual-awareness. Paul tells us that our enemy is not flesh and blood, but spiritual forces. Our tendency to look at everything through natural eyes may cause us to beat the wrong donkey if in fact, Satan has an assignment against us requiring a spiritual response. Jesus saw Satan behind Peter’s words, telling him to ‘get behind me’. Before you beat the donkey, pray for discernment and listen to the Spirit.
3. Team-awareness. What do others see around you? Proverbs tells us that there is wisdom in many counsellors. Utilising the perspectives of others may just save us when our own perspective is incomplete. Before you beat the donkey, get advice.
What problem faces you today?
How are you approaching it?
If a prophet can lack awareness, so can you. Lean into self, spiritual and team awareness to make sure your not beating the wrong problem.
And may God make you more than conquerors of all your problems, in Jesus name.