My neighbor over the road has not been well. Therefore, I have had the joy of taking care of her donkeys that live in the field behind her house. There are several adult donkeys and three little ones. I love going over each morning to fill their trough with water and to put grain in their food trays. Often, I just stand there, watching them as they eat and drink.
They are very curious about me. They now know what time of the morning I appear. Several of them begin braying. All of them come close to the fence in anticipation of what I will have for them. However, there are only a few who let me touch them. The others look on, they step close, they sniff my hand, but as soon as I lift my hand to pat them on the head, they back away. To me, it seems they have a longing in their eyes that says, I want to trust you but I’m just too afraid.
This morning, there was a joyful break-through! One of the younger donkeys came close, sniffed my hand, and stood still as I lifted my hand to pat him on the head! As I walked back across the road, I was ecstatic! The little donkey trusted me! I can hardly wait until tomorrow morning when I can go back to show love to that little donkey some more!
Aren’t we, at times, like scared little donkeys? Our Heavenly Father only ever loves us. He feeds and waters us. He kisses us with His love in each new day that dawns, with every friend that hugs us, in the laughter of children. In the darkest of storms He is there helping us through. Then, when He stands at the fence, longing to reach out and draw us to Himself, we step back in fear. What will He do? Where will He tell me to go? What will He require of me?
I can see the fear in the donkeys’ eyes as I stand there longing to reach out and pat them on the head, stroking their silky ears. They know I’ve never done them harm. I’ve only ever provided for them and blessed them. Our Heavenly Father has never done us any harm either. He provides and blesses us; still, we jump back in fear when He longs to draw us close.
I could see the glimmer of relief and enjoyment when that little donkey finally let me pet him. I hope he comes close tomorrow, too. I hope we all get close to our Heavenly Father, also. He’s always waiting. He never pulls away. We’re the only ones that do that. Let’s move beyond our fears. Let’s step close to the One who loves us with a passion that cannot be measured.
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.”