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Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - Goad Kicking

As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.[a] It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

What are goads? Sharp sticks or prods that were used to keep oxen from kicking the carts they were pulling. I read a long time ago that the goads were attached to the carts, but whether they were held by the cart driver or attached, it really doesn't matter. Those sharp little buggers did the trick. The oxen learned that kicking didn't do any good--in fact, it hurt.

So, tell me. How many times have you kicked the goads? Fought against things you couldn't change, that is. I have, who knows how many times. Rebelling is a sorry part of human nature, but I think everyone I know over the age of two weeks has indulged in a little goad kicking. It goes from wanting to eat NOW to trying to push back time with all those expensive anti-wrinkle cremes or Rogaine. Some things we can do something about (at least once we're able). We can fix a meal to satisfy hunger. Change a diaper to get rid of a little stink, take a doctor's advice to get well. We can't eliminate death or taxes. I couldn't change my dad's emphysema or my mom's dementia or my husband's Parkinson's.

Accepting what can't be changed and moving forward with the life we're offered is sometimes really difficult. With God's help (and friends and family), we can do it. I'm beginning to know that it's still an awesome life that God has given me. Awesome friends and family too. And an awesome God who has again wowed me with sunsets and flowers, mountains and rivers, and given me reason to worship Him once more. I don't think I'll ever stop missing loved ones who are gone until I join them on the other side, but I choose to cherish and focus on the happy memories and hold them to my heart rather than the pain of separation.

I was fired from one of my first jobs through no fault of my own--I had put the wrong price down for someone's steak. I could never remember from one day to the next which ones were on sale, so I always checked the menu. But the boss didn't buy that, so I was out the door. I went home and complained to my parents, and later my dad saw the woman who had taken my place. She was bragging about getting the job. I guess my dad got a little upset with her--he did a little goad-kicking too. Nothing changed. See what I mean?

I have a dear friend who has a loved one going through dementia--and she's still kicking. Even knowing she can't change the situation by kicking. She's mad at God. (Been there too, myself.) And it's okay to be mad at God, but talk to Him about it. He isn't mad back. He understands your pain, trust me. God is the guy who watched His only begotten Son being tortured and killed, and even knowing it was for the benefit of all who would come to know His Son didn't take away the pain of it. He ripped the curtain between the Holy of Holys (the place in the temple where only the high priest could go once a year) and the rest of the temple. He shook the earth. He darkened the sky. I'm thinking He was pretty angry--but He didn't, really couldn't, change what was happening. This was the whole purpose Jesus came to this world as a human.

Lord, Even understanding what has happened cannot be changed, we still try to change it. Remind us, please, dear God, that You understand what we're going through and will help us through it. Thank You for Your endless grace and compassion. We love You. Amen.
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