In spite of our desires to be holy Christians who live out God's perfect plan for family life, we often find our families are our biggest stumbling blocks. Virelle Kidder, Author of Donkey's Still Talk, explains how God works through the struggles in our life to help us become the people of faith He designed us to be.

Q: You say Donkeys Still Talk. Still? I didn't know they talked in the first place.

A: You bet they do! But they don't look or sound like furry gray long eared creatures. Rather, they enter our lives disguised as difficult circumstances we can't change or move, like people whose lives and needs press into ours on a regular basis. They could be health problems, tough financial or job issues -- many different things. The one thing they have in common is that no matter how hard we try to move them or change them, nothing helps. They won't budge.

Q: What is the story of Balaam's Ass (Numbers 22)? Can you give us the 30-second version?

A: Sure! If you walk back in the Bible to Numbers 22 you'll meet Balaam, the questionable prophet who was invited by the King of Moab to curse the horde of Israelites camped near his doorstep. But God told Balaam not to do it. Next the King sent high-level officials to bribe Balaam into coming and laying a curse on the Israelites. Finally God gives him the go-ahead but with this warning: "Say only what I tell you."

Soon afterward, Balaam set out en route to Moab riding his now-famous donkey that instantly recognized the angel of the Lord blocking their path and stopped dead, refusing to go any further. Angry that his plans are interrupted, Balaam gets off and beats her three times until God finally gives that little donkey a voice. "Am I in the habit of doing this to you?" the donkey asks. "Then why do you beat me these three times?" I imagine her pointing her long ears forward as if to say, "Look up there, stupid!"

When Balaam views the strange brightness at the end of the road, we are told God opened his eyes to see the angel of the Lord, sword drawn. Instantly, Balaam hits the dust and listens to God, which is exactly what we must do when our donkeys speak, too. These are life-changing encounters with the living God we must not miss.

Q: How do we identify the donkeys in our lives?

A: Sometimes they come attached to a name like, "If husband were a believer," or "If only my son would get his act together," "If only I had a job I liked," or "If only I didn't have________________ problem." Donkeys wear many faces. If you're still not sure, eavesdrop on your own prayers. What has you in a tangle right now, praying a regular mantra over and over all day long? Chances are, it's a donkey that just won't move. I've ridden many of them in my life, sometimes it seemed like a whole herd.

Q: Why do we blame the donkeys in our lives for our problems?

A: Because we can't get them to do what we want them to do. They block our plans, mess up our peace and happiness, and generally create havoc in our lives. We can't beat them, so blaming is second best.

Q: What is the purpose of these donkeys?

A: The donkeys God either sends or allows, even those we invite through our own unwise choices, have a wonderful purpose. They carry us to the extremities of our own resources and bring us face to face with God. They teach us that we cannot do this life on our own; we need the Lord every moment. He loves those donkeys because they finally show us how to listen, how to bow low before Him and invite God to act and to speak on our behalf. I'm convinced that the greatest God stories in our life begin on a donkey's back.