There was this flight attendant who usually took a flight from Boston to Los Angeles in September. This particular time when she was scheduling her flights, she accidentally inverted two code numbers and wound up with the wrong schedule. She managed to trade flights with other attendants for all her trips — except for Flight 175 on 9/11. The night before, she tried to log into the system to change the flight, but the computer froze and by the time it processed, it was passed the deadline. In a CNN article, she says, “I was not happy that I was not on that flight. I was driving to work steamed.” The flight she so eagerly wanted to be on was one of the ones that crashed into the towers on 9/11. When her coworkers found out she wasn’t on the flight, one of them said, “God has a plan for you. You were meant to be here.”
What if it’s God standing in the way?
In the Bible, Numbers 22, there’s a story about Balaam and his donkey. To make a long story short, Balaam was tempted by King Balak to come and curse the children of Israel. Balaam consulted God who told him to leave the people alone, Balak would send messengers with an even bigger temptation, changing Balaam’s heart against God. So, God tells him to go. In his going, Balaam would put opposition between him and God. Numbers 22:22 says, “And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him.”
Balaam was so blinded by sin that he couldn’t see the angel of the Lord standing in the way, but the donkey could. You know what Balaam did, each time the donkey delayed his impending death, he beat him. He never once took time to see if there was anything wrong with the donkey because he was eager, by temptation, to get to sin. And some of us have been there. You don’t have to admit it, but there’s been times we’ve been so entangled with sin and captivated by temptation that we’d admittedly lie to momma, break traffic laws, and go against what we know is right just to get to sin. All while cursing the delay that could save our life.
Yet, even when we’ve made God our adversary, He’ll still send a delay to spare out lives, if we’re willing to see it. This is why I asked, What if it’s God standing in the way?
Let me ask it this way. Biblically, a donkey is called an ass. A female donkey is called a she-ass. In this passage, verse 27 says, “And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam.” What if falling on your ass saved you? What if the layoff saved you from working at a place that’ll test your sanity every day of the week? What if the failing business was God standing in the way, saving you from putting money into a building that’ll cost you more than it’s worth? What if God allowed the contract to fall through because you were getting in bed with the enemy, although you couldn’t see it? The relationship you thought was love was lust dressed up and smelling good, so God let them walk away to save you from years of heartache.
What if the fall wasn’t punishment but placement in a position to be chosen? What if the fall that crippled you, is also the thing that changes you? What if the thing that hurts you also hides you until God honors you? What if the fall that caused jail time is the thing God is going to use to propel you to purpose? What if the bad decisions that put you in a desolate place is the very place, you’ll hear God calling your name? What if the fall turns into your testimony to save others?
Balaam didn’t see God until the ass fell. Some of us, God is literally blocking our path and we’re still doing everything to get through. Balaam was run into a field, had his foot crushed against a wall and still he was eagerly trying to get to evil. The donkey laid down then started talking, and Balaam was too blinded by temptation to recognize his life was being spared. And that’s some of us. Still fighting when we ought to be thanking God for blocking what should have killed us, what wasn’t for us, for severing what we didn’t have the strength to end and for standing in the way when we were too drunk off sin to see the danger in our actions.
Some of us ought to be praying, “God, thank you for standing in my way because you stopped me from chasing what has the power to crush me. Thank you for standing in my way because I was headed to revive what you’ve been telling me to let die. God, thank you for standing in my way because I couldn’t see it was me causing the problem. God, thank you for standing in my way, freeing me from inflicting the wounds. God, thank you for standing in my way because your standing, saved me.”