All of God’s creatures

Published 3:27 pm Thursday, May 19, 2022

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I’ll call him Bob.

I’ve changed his name to protect the guilty—namely me and my co-conspirator, aka my dad.

Bob was a puppy when he showed up on our doorstep. He’d come to the right place—we took in every stray.

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Bob grew into a long-legged creature. He could sail over high fences without trying. Yes, SuperDog.

The good news—Bob was incredibly good natured. None of the neighbors seemed to mind. Not at first.

He’d lope around the neighborhood in the early morning hours with the world fast asleep, nothing to do until breakfast.

They say idleness is the devil’s workshop and it didn’t take Bob long to find trouble.

We, me and my co-conspirator, successfully dealt with the first crimes. No one knew.

Unfortunately, they got worse. Hence the alias.

Not that Bob’s activities weren’t funny—they were hilarious. But, safe to say, not everyone would agree.

In the midst of the first unmentionable crimes, Bob apparently decided he wasn’t tall enough. That’s right. He needed a life with a view.

So, Bob took to walking on cars—across the trunk, up over the roof, and then down onto the hood in a perfectly straight line. He’d then jump to the next car, and the next, all the way to the end of the block.

It was fine on clear, sunny weeks. Who knew? But when it rained or snowed…

My dad would get up early, cleaning muddy paw prints from a dozen cars. On snowy mornings, he was out there with a broom.

If you knew my dad, you’d remember that he was incredibly easy going—as good-natured as Bob. These mornings didn’t bother him at all.

I told this story yesterday to my bestie, Karin Fuller, who has her own paw-prints story.

Years ago, it seems her mom was painting the kitchen when the cat jumped onto the table and landed in the roller tray of paint. He jumped down, and her mom quickly scooped him up, tossing him into the garage.

I was so relieved.

Then Karin said, “My mom forgot her new van was in there.”

I couldn’t stop laughing.

Everyone has a pet story. Perhaps you’ve seen the plaque that says, “I named my dog ‘five miles’ so I could say I walk five miles every day.”

There’s a great one in the Bible: Balaam’s ass—a speaking donkey. The story is important to me.

I was called to the ministry when I was barely 21, which can be wonderful—the Lord has taken the pen many times.

But God has called countless men and women down through the years, specially helping each one.

The story of Balaam’s donkey says one thing clearly to ministers—God can speak, even through an ass. Humble yourself.

The donkey’s words are in my book, but only because of my proofreader. I was actually writing about Balaam, who was sort of a gifted magician.

My proofreader read the chapter and looked at me. “What did the donkey say?”

“It’s not about the donkey.”

“I know, but what did the donkey say?”

“Nothing important.”

“But what did he say?”

Now you’re wondering, right? Yes, I rewrote the chapter.

Balaam appears in the Bible after the Hebrews left Egypt, some 3,500 years ago. God’s children needed to cross a certain country to get to the Promised Land, and Moses politely asked permission. King Sihon’s answer was no.

Sihon and his cohort, Og, had armies, and the Hebrews were bricklayers. Worse than Zelensky versus Putin.

But God fought for His people, defeating both Sihon and Og.  Numbers 21:21-35

You’ll see this mentioned several times in the Bible—a big deal. It made the enemy nations tremble. Joshua 2:8-11

Then the Hebrews landed on the plains of Moab, waiting to cross the Jordan and invade the Promised Land.

Barack, king of Moab, was beside himself.

Immediately, he sent for Balaam, needing Balaam to work a miracle—to conjure up a hex on the Hebrews. Numbers 22:1-21

God wasn’t feeling it.

As Balaam rode along on his donkey toward Moab, the donkey started acting up. Balaam beat the animal, but no. The donkey wouldn’t go.

That’s when the donkey turned and pointed out to Balaam that she’d always been faithful. Numbers 22:22-35

Turns out, there was an angel on the road with a sword, getting ready to cut down Balaam. The donkey was a hero.

Not true for Bob.

He eventually got caught. The neighbor across the street flagged me one morning. With pleading eyes, she glanced toward her car. “This is all I’ve got.”

Yep. Bob was soon relocated to a very nice couple on a big farm.

God’s creatures offer us a special kind of opportunity to understand our Lord. Without a doubt, we have a playful God.


The Rev. Mathews (BA, MDiv, JD) is a faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God.” Her upcoming release is “The Resurrection.” Contact her at

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