“You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life.” (Psalms 23: 1-3, Contemporary English Version)
This age-old metaphor of shepherd and sheep continues to bring comfort. We can imagine the guiding, watching caretaker keeping his flock nurtured, safe from danger, playful as well as peaceful.
And the sheep also expresses such beautiful qualities. Innocence. Trust. Obedience. Just sheer lovableness! The little lambs follow the one who knows what is best for them, what is right. They obey the guide who knows exactly where the peaceful waters are, and the fresh green fields.
We sometimes fight this whole idea. Being a sheep can suggest blindly following no matter what, going where everyone else goes, without a mind of one’s own. But with the Lord as our Shepherd, we are not ignorantly being ushered about. Our Shepherd knows better than we do, and we know this! It is our own conscious awareness of what this reliance means that allows us to be led, willingly, by the One Who Loves Us.
And this is not weak submissiveness. It is release. It is a joyous surrender to be led to the plushest meadows and to those waters that are reviving, renewing, refreshing. Our Shepherd, God, never loses His way, or loses one of His sheep. All our needs are met. Knowing this we not only can feed and feel secure, but we can also freely frolic in Life’s inviting and fragrant pastures!
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