Do you ever find yourself in a place where, when you stop to really take a breath in your string of days, you realize how tense your shoulders are? You desire more than anything to walk closely with your God and be pleasing to Him But as one difficult day has run into another and another, you realize you’re carrying the weight of so many things yourself instead of inviting Jesus into your mess with you. You need to regroup because you want more than this! Have you been there? I have. I am.
There’s a reason that we are referred to as sheep in the Bible, and Jesus as our Shepherd. Don’t get offended here, but sheep are quite dumb. They really don’t have the intelligence to take care of themselves, hence their need of a shepherd. Left to themselves they would go hungry or thirsty. They’d easily get themselves into some dangerous situations. The shepherd cares for His flock and tends to their needs. When a lamb continues to wander off, the shepherd will literally break the lamb’s leg then carry him on his shoulders. As he’s being carried and his leg is healing, the lamb begins to understand that staying near to the shepherd is his best bet of survival. It’s his best guarantee of being safe and cared for.
I don’t believe we intentionally set out to wander. Sometimes we’re doing the best we can, but life happens. It takes turns that we don’t expect and it can knock the proverbial wind out of our sails. In the midst of it all, we’re just trying to survive here, right?! But if we’re not careful to acknowledge, lean on and trust in our Shepherd every step of the way those trials, those pot holes in the road and rough patches can cause us to veer off course. We end up stuck in a rut trying to deal with it all in our own strength. Like the precious old hymn says:
Prone to wander ~ Lord, I feel it ~Prone to leave the God I love…
My dearest friend usually says we’re just dumb sheep. We are! I don’t want to wander. I really don’t, and I’m sure you don’t either. It makes me so thankful for my Shepherd’s grace and mercy toward me.
It’s been a rough several weeks, and there are more difficult days ahead. When you live with chronic illness, you learn to adjust your life as you go because your days can be unpredictable. Yet we all love to feel well and participate in life with our others. So when we hit a rough patch that seems to go on and on, it does get discouraging. We are human after all! I’m just so thankful that my Shepherd knows my dumb sheep tendencies and He leads me back to the quiet waters of refreshment that I so desperately need. In the midst of the intense pain, weakness and fatigue, and a nasty intestinal infection that doesn’t want to take its leave, I’m caring for our fourteen year old schnauzer who is nearing the end of his days with us. I’m exhausted and heartbroken. But I know that as I’m caring for and carrying Riley, my Shepherd is caring for and carrying me too.
Not only does our Shepherd meet our needs, but He also sprinkles more grace and love gifts throughout our days to bless us. We only need to look for them to see them. Here’s my list since yesterday:
- A good doctor appointment to give me hope of feeling well again.
- A long talk with our compassionate vet and a new med to help Riley rest.
- A good night’s sleep for both Riley and me.
- A new morning with sunshine and a very loud but beautiful bird song to wish me good morning!
- Riley resting comfortably today.
- A true sense of peace today.
Jesus never promised we’d have a life of ease with no troubles. But He does tell us that His grace, for each day, is sufficient, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Even if you’re not on a difficult journey right now, don’t just wait for one! Take the time today to meet with Jesus, your Shepherd. He cares for you more than you can ever imagine, and He has so much He wants to tell you. He delights in you. He is near to you. And when necessary, He’ll carry you.
Delight in your Shepherd’s tender love and care.