Have you ever prayed for something and God answered your prayer, but the result wasn’t anything like you thought it would be? Well, that was me when I prayed for a husband who would be a leader. My Mom and Grandma always told me to keep a list of qualities I wanted in a husband and at the top of that list, being a strong leader was number one. I can picture God smiling and thinking, “you really don’t know what you are getting yourself into.”
When I met my husband Brett, I was instantly drawn to his confidence and his ability to make decisions. He checked every box of those qualities on my list, even my number one. What I learned very shortly after Brett and I got married was that when you come from a long line of stubborn (I mean strong-willed) women, you aren’t quick to transition from leader to follower. I felt that if I handed him over all the power as the decision-maker, that my say on anything would be out the window. Instead of trusting Brett to make the best decisions for our family, I questioned him and challenged him on everything. As we’ve grown in our marriage, I’ve learned that Brett will always make decisions in our best interest because it’s his job to love, protect and serve our family.
I was reminded of this as I read today’s readings about the sheep and the goats. I couldn’t understand why God was so adamant about separating them. “And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (MT 25:32-34). So, why are sheep better than goats? After doing some reading and research, I found that sheep rely solely on their Shepherd to lead them and protect them. Goats, on the other hand, are stubborn little suckers. They are independent and headstrong. They may retaliate against the Shepherd, even when he knows what is best for them.
I wasn’t exactly thrilled to find out I was more like a goat than a sheep, but I think we can all be that way sometimes. But we can become God’s sheep by letting God’s providence lead our lives through total obedience and trust. Putting our full trust in the Lord to take the lead in our lives can be scary especially when we don’t know where His way will lead us. We must believe that God cannot lead us astray, for He is our good and faithful Shepherd. As a Shepherd, He doesn’t desire to control our lives. Instead, he wants us to trust in His love, which ultimately leads to eternal life with Him in Heaven.
How do we let God lead? Well, we have to begin by listening to His voice and live our lives without fear of any evil for He is our Shepherd, there is nothing we shall want.” We must connect with Him in our daily prayers, Masses and Sacraments, with great confidence that He never disappoints. With trust and diligence, we live good and holy lives by following in His footsteps. This is an amazing experience because life is always easy when we let God lead.