by Lisa Leidenfrost
But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” … ‟I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:2-4; 11, NKJV)
Notice certain things. The shepherd is ‘good.’ He sacrifices for the sheep in the highest form of sacrifice one can give – he gives his life. He also goes before them. They are not asked to go out on their own with a ‘good luck, I hope you make it.’ No matter where the path will lead, however dark, He goes before them, always. And what is even more amazing is that the sheep follow him, even into a dark valley. Why? They follow him because they trust him and know him, and are responding to His love. They would not follow a stranger.
Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for you. Do you love Him enough to follow Him anywhere even into the valley of death? When you make a choice to follow Him wherever He leads, before bad things happen, it will be easier to stay the course when the going gets tough. Make that choice now and when you get to the point where it is real hard, you will already know what you will do –you will follow.
But who are we following?
‟I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (John 10:14).
‟Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
‟My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (v. 27).
There is a close connection here of familiarity. They would only follow someone that they know, and who is good.
What does His goodness give them?
‟And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (v. 28).
This is love, and a part of that love is protection, ‟no one is able to snatch them out of My hand.” It doesn’t mean that we won’t go through some pretty tough times, it just means that no one or no thing can take us out of His hand. We are in Him and will remain in Him forever, and He will not abandon us, no matter which way the road will turn.
Who is this God that we follow? He is good. He protects, He goes before and on the way. He gives help to restore the sheep so that they can keep going on.
‟He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:2-4)
What are the key words here when you are going through a very dark time? ‟For You are with me.”
‟You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.” (Psalm 56:8, 9)
Not only is He with us, but He is also ‟for us.” Sometimes it seems like God is against us, but this is not true. Hang on to what you do know, not on what the circumstances seem to be telling you.
What is the end result of following Him no matter where He leads?
‟Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.” (Psalm 23:5)
That goodness is there, even in the darkest night and His mercy is everlasting.