Good Ass

British seaside donkeys in Skegness, Lincolnsh...

A week of intensity and change in the life of our church – grateful for  God’s purposes and plans as we move forward.

Our friends Mark Ritchie and his daughter Keziah visited Kelowna – an eventful time on Big White as Keziah took a fall and broke her leg on Monday. We were thankful that no operation was needed and that Kez got a whole row of seats to fly back to the UK on Wednesday. The young people loved Mark and his preaching at Rush2012 last weekend, a wonderful event with 1500 young people – many finding faith for the first time.

I am well into my new Uni ‘Writing’ module… looking forward to practicing and testing out what I have learned on my blog readers. That’s you. Oh and while I have your attention I need to increase my followers on my blog, would you be happy to follow michelle’s musings? If so,  can I ask you to head to the right of the screen, click follow and then you’ll receive a post by email when I write one.

…..This week as I reminisced, I found myself on a beach. Seven years old, a white blond walking smile. Sunburnt and barefoot. The crowded beach, a bucket and spade holiday at its British best. Deckchairs and dinghies, the Sun and the sun.

England in the 70’s.

Our annual trip to Weymouth was THE holiday to be on. Our family of five, then five more, not forgetting that special five more. We were like gypsies, gathering, traveling and sticking together.

Back to the beach…

The sandman and his intricate carvings – never ceasing to amaze us. A pink cloud of candy floss sticking to my hair as I enjoyed the Punch and Judy show of the day.

A traditional Punch and Judy booth.

The highlight of the day came after lunch…the donkey ride.

I lined up clutching my 25p, with whoever I could persuade to take me, someone who wasn’t writing postcards or playing swing ball, usually my speedo clad Dad. The smell of donkey, the morose guide and the worn leather saddle all made the experience what it is. Memorable.

The donkeys, each had their own name emblazoned on their harness enabling us to make an informed choice of which we ride. I was hoisted up onto my choice of my donkey. I’d always choose a name like ‘Sparkle’.

I’m not sure if you have ever been on a donkey ride but on an English beach it’s pretty straightforward. You are led up the beach for five minutes in a line, with ten other donkeys complete with children. And for those ten minutes, that slow donkey is all yours, you talk to it, you stroke it, and on my beach you look up and see King George  on a white horse set in limestone on Osmington hill, inspiring you to offer your beast a little kick to go quicker.


Your ride finished, you step down like a jockey. Giving your donkey a pat on the back, releasing a cloud of  sandy dust.

As the day passed I would casually walk by the donkeys, I was sure my donkey recognized me. I mean, it didn’t speak to me or anything….

Hmmm talking donkeys.

Now there’s a whole story in itself found in Numbers 22.

There’s a guy named Balaam, he practices sorcery, wizardry – a diviner. He gets paid to bring down curses and blessings on people. With this in mind Balak, the King of Moab decides to call on his services to curse the Israelites, now encamped on Jordan. He is feeling overwhelmed knowing that soon enough the Israelites would take over and destroy them. The King’s people ask Balaam for his services and he decides to ‘sleep on it’ which he did but wasn’t given the go ahead. The King sent more people, Princes this time, offering riches beyond imagination, sure to persuade. This time Balaam agrees to sleep on it again, but asks the princes to stay – greed and flattery whirling around his head he is bugged and pesters God, as Balaam sleeps that night he receives a conditional go ahead from God.

Next day, he saddles up his donkey and heads off.

As they travel with the princes God sends an angel to block their path, No one sees the angel – except the donkey. A comical scene ensues, first the donkey leaves the  road and heads to a field, recieving a beating from Balaam. The second time, he crushes Balaam’s foot against a wall, another beating and the third the donkey stops in a narrow path, you know the place, hemmed in no room to turn. This time the donkey protests by laying down in the road, resulting in a third beating. Having had enough beatings the Lord opens the donkeys mouth and says,

‘What have I done to you to make me beat you these three times’

Now, does this donkey have the attitude of Eeyore, despondent with low esteem or Donkey from Shrek, talkative and chatty?

A conversation continues between Balaam and the donkey (I’m guessing he doesn’t have an Eddie Murphy accent) making a fool of him in front of those around.

The Prophet Balaam and the Ass, by Rembrandt v...
Image:Creative Commons. The Prophet Balaam and the Ass, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1626.

Until finally, the Lord opens Balaam’s eyes and he sees the angel blocking the way before them – Balaam bows low and falls facedown.

Balaam’s response was to turn back, but God gave him permission to go ahead. Chances, more chances. He is good at that.

The story continues and as much as Balaam tried he could only bless the Israelites, time and time again.

So many truths spring out of this story. Maybe read it and see what you find.

I’ll go with this one…

Is God standing right before us. Are we so consumed in ourselves and the ordinary that we fail to see Him. You know what it’s like, when we have this journey all figured out. Shouting ‘that’s the way we do it’ 

Do we limit our experience of God, and the way He wants to communicate with us?

Our creative God communicates continually.

‘Lord, open our eyes to see you, open our ears to hear you all about us. We want to seek you wholeheartedly’


…. And remember that God still speaks through donkeys today.

 ‘Eee Awww’

Have a great week friends!



9 thoughts on “Good Ass

  1. This was so good for me to read today. I sometimes have all the worst characteristics of a donkey without the voice of Eddie Murphy. Its my stubourness that holds me in places of pain.


  2. So true. Just when you think he can’t hear you, he finds a unique way to speak. On your level in a way that means something to you personally. He is the awesome creative one!!


  3. This was good, Shell, I so want to be listening to Him in all I do, maybe sometimes my eyes are blinkered and I start to wander..


  4. […] Visitors often arrive from a random search. It’s 50/50, some search ‘Michelle Collins Pastor’s Wife Kelowna’ I’m guessing that’s me or ‘Michelle’s Musings’ Then there are the other half who are mostly looking for Michelle Collins the actress (Coronation Street) in the UK. Everyday someone, somewhere writes ‘Michelle Collins Sex’  – at which they are led to my review of Mark Driscoll’s book on ‘Real Marriage and Sex‘  Not sure that’s what the original search had in mind, then there’s ‘Michelle Collins Ass’ where the searching one is led to my post on ‘Balaam’s Donkey‘ […]


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