CORAL GABLES, Fla., September 1, 2012 — I am blessed to have a beautiful natural area near my home where I am able to take uninterrupted morning walks with my pup, Mater. One of my favorite sites on my path is the local pasture filled with lots of sheep and two cute donkeys. Most mornings, these sheep are resting quietly in the morning dew as the donkeys munch on some nearby grass. And every morning, Mater tries to disturb their morning rest by letting out an excited bark to announce his presence.
One morning as I was walking, I noticed a car driving through the field in the direction of the sheep’s pasture. I watched as the vehicle made its way over to the field where the sheep were resting and drove slowly alongside the fence. I imagine it was the owner of the property or a hired hand making sure the pasture was secure and the sheep were accounted for. I couldn’t help but reflect on the illustration Jesus used so often in the Bible, that He was the Good Shepherd and His followers, the sheep (John 10:11).
As I watched the car ride past the sheep’s pasture, I thanked God for sending His Son, Jesus, to be my Good Shepherd. I also thanked Him for always keeping watch over me. Unlike the person in the car who did a “drive by” check on the animals, God is always with me, watching over every detail of my life, caring for me every moment of every day. He never leaves me abandoned in the pastures of life. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid … for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. “
Forsake is one of those words you don’t hear often in today’s culture. Just for fun, I decided to look up its definition. I knew generally that the word “forsake” meant to leave or abandon something, but the dictionary’s definition went a little further. It defined “forsake” as leaving or abandoning something precious, something of value.
Unlike the owner of the sheep who had left the sheep out in the pasture alone (ok, there were 2 donkeys there to protect them), God never leaves us nor forsakes us. He is our constant defender, provider, protector, and deliverer. Why? Because we are valuable to Him. We are precious in His sight. We are His treasured possessions (Dt. 7:6). We are His handiwork, His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). We are worth everything to Him, so much so that Jesus laid down His life for us so that we can have eternal life and an abundant life here on earth (see John 3:16 and John 10:10-11).
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). When we grasp how deep and how wide the Good Shepherd’s love is towards us, when we understand how precious and valuable we are to Him, when we understand that He will protect us with His very life, we can rest in His care.
Take courage today in the fact that the Good Shepherd is watching over you. You are never alone, you are never without hope. God’s eyes are ever watching over you and His heart of love is ready to act on your behalf.
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