“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?” 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.” Acts 9:3-5

It’s apparent that Saul was under heavy conviction even before getting knocked off his saddle. God only knows how long he’d been kicking against the goads. And from what I know about goads, kicking against them is about as bright as boxing with the sharp end of a sword. It’s best to surrender, if you get my point. Goads were used to jab large beasts like oxen, mainly to get them moving in the right direction.

That’s what happened to Saul. Like a stubborn ox, he was headed down the wrong path. All the while, the Holy Spirit was riding him hard, jabbing him night and day to steer him in the right direction. Rather than cooperate, Saul kicked, leaving him exhausted and sore.

Most can relate. We’ve all been there. God points one way; we head the other. He pulls out the goad. We stick out our foot. He jabs. We kick. We grow sore. We break. We surrender. Finally, we’re back on track. Yes, goading hurts, but without it we get off track. Only God can steer us straight.

As for Saul, he required a tremendous amount of goading. He just wouldn’t give in. Imagine him kicking as Brother Stephen preached his final sermon. He only grew sorer. “Not another word from him,” he growls, “Take him out at once!” This was only the beginning of Saul’s mad campaign to destroy all Christians. Many fled as a result. Unrelenting, Saul went after them. Little did he realize, Jesus was hot on his trail. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” His voice thundered from above.

So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:6)

Saul prayed one of the most brilliant prayers a person can pray. “What do you want me to do?” he cried. Too often prayer time is spent telling God what to do. We talk more than listen, trying to goad Him into what we want to see happen. We’d benefit more by simply closing our mouths and tuning our ears to His voice.

Jesus often began His teachings by saying, “He who has ears to hear.” To know Him is to listen to Him. Saul serves as a good example in this instance. It’s as if he’s saying, “Okay, you got my attention. What do you want me to do? I’m all ears!” The Lord answers, “Arise and go!” Saul is then told to wait for further instruction.

The Lord doesn’t always offer details when He calls. We may not arise if He did. So, He simply sets us into motion. “Go!” He beckons. “Go and wait!” That pretty much sums up the Christian journey. It’s a steady flow of going with a whole lot of waiting in between. If we can be faithful in those two things, we’ll spare ourselves a whole lot of goading.

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