Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Not by Force, but by Faith

Driving to work through country roads occasionally littered with white feathered chickens, one morning I came upon a goat stuck in a fence. Poor critter. It was standing apart from the herd on its hind legs, front hooves against the fence.

I parked on the side of the road, got out in the rain, and walked over to the goat who was yanking with all its might against fishhook horns pulling the opposite direction against the wire—its own head working against itself.

Having regard for another man’s beast, I grabbed that goat by the horns. As I tried and tried to turn and push those horns through that tiny square piece of fence, he resisted every one of my dad-blasted attempts to help him. That’s what goats do.

We wrestled each other until I was soaking wet and mad, staring all the while into those strangely cold, inexpressible eyes for half an hour, wondering why on earth he’d resist being set free.

Then the farmer came out. I watched in wonder as the one who knows goats gently pushed the beast’s nose down so that the horns went out head first. In three seconds, I watched the goat go back to the herd.

Then the farmer turned and looked at me like I was a sheep.

In my mind, I said, “Baaaaa,” to the farmer and thanked God I am the sheep of His flock, because I know God is with us in the struggles of life. He waits for us to call on Him. After we exhaust ourselves and look to him, we experience that verse in 2 Corinthians 3:17,

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV)

Stubbornness is the goat in a child who won’t follow directions. It’s the goat in your aging parents who seem to be racing each other to heaven — one with emphysema who won’t put down the cigarette, another with diabetes you can’t talk into eating a salad for supper. Stubbornness is the goat in all of us when we insist on fixing problems that were never in our wisdom or power to solve — only in our prayer to the One who can. We must not keep trying to take our life’s goats by the horns trying to force solutions in our own strength. Jeremiah 7:24 says,

"But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward."(NIV)

When we give our problems, and someone else’s, to God through prayer, we give up our own counsel and our own stubbornness. We find freedom.

Lord, thank You for rescuing us, for giving us freedom—not just for ourselves, but freedom to pray for others. Your wisdom is above our own. While we often use force on what we don’t understand, you use gentleness. Thank you for making us the sheep of your pasture. Please help us remember to let go of life’s horns and pray, because you alone are God.

Copyright © 2018 Laurinda Krotish, used with permission.

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