January 23, 2008
Adventures with the Shepherd
Imagine a woman so well-loved, so secure in her lover's admiration and attention, so cherished that all she wants to do is find ways to please and pleasure her lover. She is so filled with smiles inside all day long that she devises ways to give herself to her lover and cause him gladness.
Well-loved ---> well-loving ---> well-loved ---> very happy couple.
It's a picture of one facet of the relationship God proposes to me. I am so well-loved by Him, when I can just focus on that and get ahold of it in my depths, it is reason to want to find out what pleases Him and get seriously into That, to show my love back to Him. Sometimes I can see His love so clearly, it makes me cry tears of thankfulness. Other times it is hidden behind veils of distractions and worries and subtle lies creeping in to replace peace and grace with frustration and self-consumption. But He always breaks back in and makes His thoughts towards me clear again, through His written words, through worship lyrics and tunes, through His people, through Creation, through His Spirit in me. And majorly through my husband.
I love seeing and living real-life illustrations of God and His heart towards us. I am finding He has planted them here, there and everywhere, waiting for us to discover them, like a time-release medicine for our souls. Like virtual "Easter eggs" in computer programs, secret fun things lying dormant until one presses the right keys at the right time, and they are revealed.
Last week one of the kids told me that a certain cookbook had no main courses in it, only desserts. This was a cookbook I've been using for 15 years, and have cooked several main courses out of. I didn't answer, because it wasn't worth answering. The child kept looking, and found the main course section. The truth was self-evident, without me saying anything. It made me think that God must often wait out some of the ridiculous things we say about life, patiently letting us figure out the truth for ourselves, without correcting us, because whatever we said was so off-target it wasn't even worth answering! Furthermore, we might not believe Him until we see or experience it for ourselves.
I love Karen Hancock's post yesterday about the "Big Bad Shepherd". She talks about how fast and powerful lions are, and how scary it would be to be attacked by one while defending witlessly terrified sheep.
Shepherds of David's day and before were not wimps.
[...] When you went out with your sheep (your flock of brainless mutton on the move, the world's first mobile cafeteria) you knew that there would be predators that would come to seek what you were guarding and guiding.
[...] Shepherds were tough and fierce. David, writing of the Twenty-Third Psalm knew that as well as anyone, and was a demonstration of it.
[...] shepherds even of that day had none of the peace and placidness we see in the stereotypes of devotional renderings. They were more like warriors. Grim-faced and fierce eyes, armed with dagger, pistols, battleaxe, and club they went out prepared to do battle for their sheep.
"Don't confuse the Lamb with the Shepherd," said Pastor Farley. "If a shepherd is up to the task of guarding and keeping his sheep, he will be more like a lion."
I think that's wonderful imagery to help us see yet another facet of our Lord's person and character.
[...] The Lord is my Shepherd. My big, bad shepherd who is absolutely up to the task of handling all my needs, of bringing me to the place of choice grass and quiet, soul restoring waters, who will heal all my wounds, guard me from ravening beasts, and whack me over the head with his rod or haul me out of thickets with his staff when needed. With this guy leading me, taking care of me, providing for me, how can I possibly ever lack for anything?
It made me think of Jack Bauer, honestly. Do you think of shepherds that way? God my Shepherd is cooler, stronger, faster, and more tactically trained than Jack Bauer (of the TV show "24"). I'm in Super Really Good Hands.
God also knows when it is in our best interests not to be rescued right away. He knows how long we can hold out and learn something important in the process, usually something to do with trusting Him at all times! Another quote from Karen Hancock in her writing blog, which I find as interesting as her books:
Took me all morning to think and pray and confess the tangle of sins that had somehow begun to bind me. To recall who it is I serve and that He has guided all along, that He IS helping me, that He has not forsaken me. That His plan is bigger and better than anything I can imagine and I don't know what that is! I think I know what the plan is going to look like for me, how things are going to unfold. And that's nonsense.
God, my Tough and Capable, Studly Shepherd, is also the Lover of my soul and the Wise One who knows the plans He has for me, far deeper and more wonderful than I could possibly understand right now. It's all about trusting in the combination of His Goodness, Wisdom, Interest, and Supreme Ability combined. And keeping walking onwards in the adventure He gives.
January 23, 2008 | Permalink
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Such good food for thought in this post. This line ("it is reason to want to find out what pleases Him and get seriously into That") particularly resonated with me.
Posted by: Skeller | Jan 24, 2008 2:52:39 AM