I remember early in my journey through grief someone told me when it comes don’t fight. Don’t fight it because it will only get worse. Just ride the wave. It will eventually spit you out on the other side.
So I did.
When the waves of grief came I simply resigned to their force. Like an untethered raft floating down the rapids, I let grief take me where it wished.
I did eventually drift into calmer waters and I learned something in those quiet waters. His grace really is sufficient.
I have soaked up so many of Paul’s writings in the New Testament during my white water rafting season. One of those saturated meditations is Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Paul had something that ailed him. It was something that wouldn’t leave him. It was something that God refused to heal. Read the text here.
But Paul rode the wave. Paul didn’t just ride it. He resigned to it. In that resignation he realized how God was using to it mold him and in essence control him.
That wasn’t the first time Paul experienced this. Back when he was persecuting the early church Jesus came to Paul. He got Paul’s undivided attention and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Paul kicked against the goads. I’m no farmer, but I imagine Farmer Yoder prodding an ox to go one direction, but the beast doesn’t want to be prodded or poked so he kicks back. He fights against the stick. He fights against the farmer. He fights against his purpose.
Isn’t it that way with us, we have this thorn in the flesh, essentially God’s goad to direct us into his will, but instead of resigning we kick against it. We kick against the Lord. We kick against his purpose for us.
In stead of kicking, I have learned to yield to the goad of grief. It is the ring in my snout in which my Master leads me to his will. It is the goad of God.
As I am led, in my willful surrender, I have realized a cosmological, astronomical, life-changing spiritual truth- His grace really is sufficient. His will really does bring peace. His presence really does bring joy.