When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come let’s go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” NIV
Well, I’ve often heard that if God is teaching you something, you’ll hear it again and again from a variety of sources. Apparently, there is something else here about these donkeys that is important. I picked this verse at random from the list of “worry” verses, not realizing that those donkeys would still be being worried over.
So, I went back to the beginning of the story.
The donkeys belong to a man named Kish, who is described as a Benjamite, and a man of standing. Benjamin was the youngest of Jacob’s sons, the second son, I think, of his beloved Rachel. I haven’t read far enough along, but I’m thinking that Saul is likely King Saul. So, Saul’s dad was a worrier. I can relate.
The interesting thing to me about this verse is that Saul cares that his dad is worried, and he very well understands the worry addiction. Saul is sent off on a fruitless hunt (he is not the one who finds the donkeys), and, when he realizes that he’s been gone a while, he recognizes that this will start a whole new cycle of worry for his father.
Kish, in the meantime, has likely gone through an entire gamut of emotions … multiple times by now. He’s been angry, he’s contemplated other people making use of his prized donkeys, he’s pictured them falling down a well and bleeting for help with no-one to hear them. When he doesn’t hear from Saul, he no doubt worries that the kid got lost, or that some other horrible fate has befallen him.
Worry is like that. It is a never-ending cycle. It will consume your thoughts and your time, until you are unable to be any earthly good to anyone.
Sometimes I wonder why particular stories are in the Bible. I wonder why, for instance, these lost donkeys are left on record for us. I wonder if it is because God knows that many of us, like Kish, are worriers. I want to think more about what I can learn from Kish and his donkeys today.