Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Good Shepherd Still Leads His Sheep

Last year this time, I was in Keukenhof, Holland at a beautiful Tulip Festival. At that festival they had a petting corral with lots of beautiful sheep, so well cared for and so well-protected in that confined area. In fact, you could easily call them "pampered" sheep. They live in green pastures and they are well fed and totally out of danger. They don't even need a shepherd.
But, what about those sheep that are in a field, open-prey to ravenous animals and harm? They are the ones that truly need a shepherd to watch over and care for them. We are like those sheep. How comforting to know that wherever we are, our Good Shepherd keeps a watchful eye on us. Jesus shares something central to our life of faith. He says, "I am the Good Shepherd." John 10:11. Like a shepherd, He leads us, feeds us, protects us, and saves us. How could He have such audacious and unrelenting love for us?
And the answer has always been the same -- simple, yet profound God IS love. It's who He is. He can't stop loving us. We are His children, and we are the sheep of His pasture. He loves us so much that He asked His Son to leave His heavenly home, take on a human body and lay down His life for us. And, now enthroned with His Father, Jesus still guides us to safety, restores our souls and our strength..
As, one of those well-fed, cared for, and protected and "pampered" sheep, I delightfully proclaim: "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me. His rod and His staff -- they comfort me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalms 23.
Wouldn't you like to make that proclamation, too?