|Picture by Thom, Ireland (2002)|
"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in the green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name's sake."
Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)
Into the fabric of everyday life, God has been weaving the theme of the above Psalm--in devotions, songs, and other scriptures. It has happened often enough that I am trying to slow down, trying to listen to what the Word is saying.
I have been pondering what it means to be in the care and the rest of the Shepherd, to look to Him for guidance, and to ultimately let Him be my security and peace. This can be a challenge with busy schedules, anxiety from many 'unknowns,' and pressure from many directions.
One of the phrases that stands out in the Psalms is "He leads me." I have been reading Margaret Feinberg's "Scouting the Divine: my search for God in wine, wool, and wild honey." In the chapter on shepherding, she notes the importance of the sheep being led. A shepherd will not push a sheep or flock from behind. She notes this would cause the sheep to become fearful, anxious, or agitated. Instead, the shepherd goes ahead of the flock, calls them by name, and the sheep, who trusts the shepherd, follows peacefully.
As I reflected on this chapter, it occurred to me that being led by a Shepherd requires a few things. First, a sheep needs to know and listen for the Shepherd's voice. Also, being oriented toward the Shepherd (rather than on "greener pastures") is important. Having trust in the Shepherd is also essential to being led by Him. These are all so counter to the fast-paced, noise-driven, never-satisfied, and self-sufficient culture in which we live!
Heading into Monday with the prayer for a heart that will be led...for His name's sake.