A familiar Bible story was highlighted for me by a friend through a leadership-followship lens that really resonated with some of my own journey with God.
In 1 Samuel 9 we find the story of Samuel anointing the Saul as the first king of Israel. If you read the chapter and step back you see a great example of how God will often times lead us into divine intersection points with such obscure conspiracy that we are totally aloof about it until after the fact. God simultaneously tells Samuel that He has picked out the right person for this unprecedented job and will provide him shortly. To accomplish that God has the donkeys of Kish run off, resulting in Kish’s young son, Saul, being sent out with a group to find them. This quest ultimately leads them to Zuph, where they decide to offer some money to the prophet of God for direction (enter Samuel).
Here’s Saul thinking “what a waste of my time, chasing stupid donkeys who ran off to who knows where! Now we’re about to lose our money on a prophet I’ve never met, all to just get my dad’s donkey’s back. Sheesh.” Some literary license being taken I concede, but you have to imagine Saul was not seeing any divine purpose in scouring the countryside to Zuph in chase of some donkeys. Yet, it was exactly at the historical intersection of Zuph that God turned the world upside down on Saul and began to unfold a chapter in His divine conspiracy.
Sometimes we chase seeming donkeys and there is not any obvious purpose. Sometimes it’s not until we reach a proverbial Zuph that timing and perspective align adequately to allow us to even see purpose. I’ve chased similar donkeys to Chicago, to San Antonio, to slums in Honduras and repeatedly find divine conspiracies abounding in these meanderings.
It’s worth stopping to prayerfully consider when ‘waste of time’ detours are actually divine conspiracy donkey chases and when we might be entering a Zuph of significant intersection. Of course, then there’s just wild goose chases that we put ourselves on….been on any good donkey chases in your journey? Care to share?