“And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible.” 2 Corinthians 7:11-13

“This distress has goaded you closer to God…” Hmmmm

Goaded means to provoke or annoy (someone) so as to stimulate some action or reaction.

Sometimes with our teenagers, we find ourselves goading them and honestly sometimes without even knowing it. Something we said or did “stimulates some action or reaction.” 😉 These actions and reactions are not always that great. When our teenagers are “goaded” their actions and reactions reveal things and it helps us as parents. We can see where they need help, where they need to grow and we know some changes that we can put in place to help them. Goodness! When those teenagers are being “goaded” I am right along with them – it’s a two-way street. Now we as parents have to watch our actions and reactions. What a crazy cycle it can be…lol

Our day to day is filled with goading opportunities! That person that rubs us the wrong way, the annoyance when an extended wait met us at our favorite coffee shop, the stress that came when deadlines were moved up, the emotions that rose up when we faced a hurt we thought was dealt with, the anger we experienced when something didn’t go our way…all of these things goad us. They cause actions and reactions.

Honestly, sometimes I just want to stay immature – it’s a little easier in the moment. It’s easier to blame, judge, shut off or run away. But as it says this distress that causes us to react and take action towards God causes us to be more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate and more responsible! Wow! That is quite the list…I do want to be more of all of those things.

A lot has happened in 5 months since we have been here. There has been loss of people and relationships, cultural blindsides and a lot of work. Many times I sit with my bible and journal – rereading the promises that were given to us over the last couple of years and remembering what amazing things have taken place in the recent months. Reminding myself that yes we were called and it’s not supposed to be easy.

Earlier in our trip I felt God show us that we have machetes and we are “making way, a path,  for a generation that has been settled in poverty and without dreams for hundreds of years.” Exciting stuff huh?

Well as we got further into relationship and deeper in the work the more doubt and a sense of hopelessness try to find it’s way into my thoughts. I remember last month when we were talking through the processes and situations that we face here and Mike said: ““we knew coming here, that bringing change for a generation and generations to come would not be an easy task.” He was right. In fact, it would goad us…”

I cannot say that our reactions and actions have been anywhere near perfect – BUT I can declare that they have helped us, located us and allowed us to examine ourselves with the Holy Spirit and find out what we are missing from heaven and do an exchange. My immaturity for his maturity, my lack of love for his never-failing love, my shortcomings for his kindness and grace.

Next time you find yourself reacting or taking action in a way that is maybe not your most bright shining moment do not get overwhelmed and discouraged! Just take a moment, step back a sec and know that this is a chance for you to make an exchange, to make a choice to move closer to God and become more sensitive, more human and more alive!

As we have 2 more months of activity ahead of us with MANY more opportunities in this culture and in relationships to be “goaded” I smile and I turn…not away from my loving God filled with guilt and condemnation, but towards him because that is the intention and the purpose of these moments. To get closer to Him so I can become more like Him, so others can taste and see that He actually is so VERY VERY GOOD! I finish this blog with a quote from a new favorite book I have been drinking in slowly that ties up this blog so well.

“You cannot be poured out wine if you remain a whole grape, you cannot be broken bread if you remain whole grain. Grapes have to be crushed, and grain has to be grounded. Then the sweetness of the life comes out to the glory of God.” 

The Love of God by Oswald Chambers.