“The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.” (Psalms 23:1 GNT)
“I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NIV)
In these recent days of unrest, I found myself on the brink of an internal implosion or an external explosion of emotion and frustration. So I fasted from the media frenzy and instead wanted only to hear the calming voice of the One who loves me best. I latched onto the verses about Jesus being my shepherd. I was soothed greatly. The thought of having a shepherd was sweet, and knowing my shepherd was Jesus made it triple sweet. If He is the good shepherd, then there must be bad shepherds out there. Lately, there have been many who have tempted me to follow them. Advice givers run rampant through the media, and all have varying solutions. I finally figured out “I may not have all the answers, but I know the One who does.”
“I don’t know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.” ~ Ira F. Stanphill
There are many characteristics of a good shepherd. The good shepherd calls and leads. He knows and cherishes. He gathers and guides. He protects and preserves. He comforts and restores. He anoints and feeds. He is willing to lay His life down for His flock. But the one characteristic that is most meaningful to me and the one I have been ruminating on is “He makes His presence known.”
When a sheep is agitated or nervous, it can infect the whole flock in short order. The good shepherd knows this so He will walk among His flock looking for signs of distress or anxiety. Just His presence soothes the agitated flock and restores order. Sheep are skittish animals, frightened easily. He will sing or play a musical instrument, lay His hands upon their heads, and apply healing oils where needed. The good shepherd will even sleep with His flock letting them know they dwell in safety. Does this comfort you as it does me?
I pray you are not feeling like an emotional explosion is near. But if you do, consider fasting from the frenzy. Come away. Let the good shepherd lead you.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.” ~ Helen Howarth Lemmel
~ Beth Bankert