Friday, December 12, 2014

The Fat Goat

Some months ago, we had three goats. Two had horns and one, Ryan's original show goat, did not. They were all former show goats and fine specimens. Shamrock, Ryan's first goat, has had a little trouble with her waistline in the past and it had an unfortunate impact on her show ring success. The other goats, however, fixed that. Over time, those goats with horns became increasingly aggressive with her. They started pulling her hair. They wouldn't let her eat. She lost weight. 

Eventually, I had to intervene. I would stand guard over Shamrock at mealtime. Before long, I was fighting off those horned goats as they tried to attack both Shamrock and me. That was the final straw. "Sisters, you are headed to the sale barn!" I threatened. They didn't care. They were as tough as nails. They could take anything. Ryan, my son, informed me, "You'd be tough too if you had big guns on your head." I thought they were more like battering rams, but I finally had enough. I called the owner of the sale barn and those goats were gone.

Shamrock had been through a rough time and had lost some weight. In fact, she looked a lot like a "Twiggy" goat, so I started giving her increased rations. I was so proud of her improved nutrition that I failed to notice her expanding waistline. Again. When Ryan came home recently, he went to visit his goat and was shocked. "Mama, that goat is morbidly obese! You're going to kill her feeding her so much!" I could not believe it. "I'm cutting her rations back to half of this," he said as he emptied part of the feed back in the barrel. "I cannot believe how fat she is!" He was truly shocked. 

I went back to the goat pen and took a good look at Shamrock. Ryan was right. I had just about fed poor Shamrock into a heart attack. (Well, not really, but she had gained a bunch of weight.) It seems odd that I hadn't realized how much weight she had gained, but I see her every day. It happened gradually, and it's left me thinking about how easy it is for me to develop thoughts, behavior, and habits so gradually that I don't notice their impact on my heart and life. Do you do that, too? Probably so, if you're like most people. Maybe what we need is to take a few steps back and look at our lives and our hearts from God's perspective. When He views our heart, what does He see? What does He think? Sometimes He must want to say, "Look what you're doing! You're making a mess! Stop! Let's fix this before it gets worse!" 

During this Advent season, as we await the birth of our Lord, let's remember why He came. We had made such a mess of our hearts and our lives, from the beginning of the world, that we needed a Savior and only a perfect, spotless, sinless Savior would do. Lord Jesus wrapped Himself in flesh and came to dwell among us. He took the mess we made of our lives pretty seriously and we should, too. Let's invite Him to do an inspection and help us to make any changes needed. He came to save us, but He never intended to leave us like we were. Let's invite God to have His way in us this Christmas season.

The new book, The Waiting: When the Answer to Your Prayer is Delayed and Your Hope is Gone, as well as The Clay Papers and The Road to Bethlehem (an advent devotional guide) are now available at Get your copy today.