Stop Kicking Against the Goads
by Shauna Wallace
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Act 9:3-5).
My day was a bust. Everything felt hard; nothing went right. Attempts to advance projects ended in disappointment and frustration, and bedtime brought relief and an end to a disheartening day. My prayers were the kind for which there are no words; just my heart’s cry for God’s presence. His touch. His encouragement.
When I woke the next morning, instead of opening my Bible to read and study, I simply opened my journal.
Lord, I just want to be in Your presence this morning. You know better than I do what’s warring within me. I feel unsettled and uncertain – unanchored. Clearly, Lord, I’ve fallen again into self-reliance. I’m trying to figure everything out myself! I don’t know what to do with so many things. Lord, I confess my doubts. I want to quit! All of it. Am I even making a difference? I feel like I’m ready to be done – to walk away. Shut down the blog and all my social media, box up all the books and just stop writing.
Have you ever been there? You know God has given you something to do but your efforts seem to hit a brick wall or go nowhere at all?
Then the Lord spoke to me:
Shauna, why do you kick against the goads?
They’re the words Jesus spoke to Saul (before he became known as Paul) on the road to Damascus as he hunted and imprisoned followers of Jesus. Jesus stopped him in his tracks, saying:
“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. It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Act 9:3-5, NKJV).
Maybe you have the same question I did, “What in the heck is a goad?”
A goad is an iron prick that guides and spurs an ox in the right direction. It stings when the ox kicks against it, so to kick against the goadsis “to offer vain and perilous or ruinous resistance.”
Goads guide. Their prick is their power; to fight harder is to be wounded deeper.
Goads are for our good.
This day, I was trying to figure out and make my own way instead of just doing what the Lord had already told me to do. I was resisting the prick of the Holy Spirit. The harder I fought, the worse my state of discontentment, frustration, and irritation.
Saul’s response became my cry:
Lord, what would you have me do?
Again, the Lord answered me.
Those projects I couldn’t move forward? He told me to cancel them.
Exactly 13 minutes later, I received this text:
Hello, I was wondering because I know you have written some books, is there a book of yours that I could possibly buy? I just have always taken so well to the readings on your website and I love them! They’ve helped me grow closer to Christ.
Yep. She was talking about the books I was ready to box up and the blog I was ready to shut down. The ones I convinced myself didn’t matter. Then, that same evening, a lady in Bible study who had no idea what had transpired the previous 24 hours handed me a card and said:
God gave me this verse for you today. I don’t know why, and I’d never seen it that way before.
When I opened the card, it was Luke 1:45: “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45). And God whispered to my heart:
Believe Me, Shauna. There will be a fulfillment of what I’ve told you.
Like Mary, who asks “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34), I asked the Lord:
How can this be, Lord, when I’ve only sold this many books or only have this many subscribers, followers, etc.? How can this be when I only have one of the three things publishers look for to sign a new author?
Is there something God has spoken to you and you’re answering Him with, “How can this be, when ?” Just fill in the blank.
Here’s God’s answer – to Mary, me and you: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
Whatever your blank, He will bring His work and His will to pass because He sends His Holy Spirit upon us. The power of the Highest overshadows us, and the result…GET THIS…is that Jesus is “birthed” in us! Not in the physical sense as it literally happened for Mary, but by His Spirit, we become carriers of His presence and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and He brings for the life of Christ in us.
If the Spirit is pricking you in an effort to guide and spur you on and resisting has become painful, perhaps it’s time to stop kicking against the goads.
Much love and many blessings,
Women are drawn to Shauna’s teaching and Bible studies because of her in-depth yet conversational and practical approach to scripture’s truths as they apply to the nitty-gritty of daily life. The more she studies the Bible, the greater her grasp of God’s grace and love and the deeper her passion to see others experience the power and freedom of surrendering entirely to Him. She is a wife, mother and working woman who gladly and transparently connects with women wherever they are by sharing the good, bad and challenging of her life story, past, and present. Learn more at www.shaunawallace.com.