I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14
As a farmer’s daughter, I remember how my father would wake up in the wee hours of the morning to take care of our animals. This was his life –he lived and breathed the farm. There was no end to his day, nor was there any money, fame, or fortune in farming. A farmer loves this life. There is nothing he would rather do but sacrifice his life day after day, working from the rising of the sun until it goes down in order to make sure that all that is in his realm is looked after.
During his days, my father would check and make sure that none of the animals were sick, always watching to see if any had hurt themselves or suffered with an ailment. He would give them medicine or separate a sick one for extra care. He would always ensure that his animals would have everything they needed. There was always plenty of fresh pastureland and shelter from storms for his animals. Often, care would require that he was there in the middle of the night when one had broken down the fence and escaped.
You don’t choose the life of a farmer because of anything other than love. Many farmers have lost their land and their very lives for this beautiful, tough, arduous work. They do it not because of what they will get. They do it because of love–simple, unadulterated love for the animals in their care. They love them, they want to be with them, they watch over them and protect them. A farmers every breath revolves around this work that is not just a job, it’s a calling.
My father knew each animal inside and out. Their was the one that always tried to escape his care and run outside the fence. The one who was about to have a baby any day. The one that had not been treated well by the last owner they had, and so was weary and scared.
He knew each one of them intimately and deeply.
So it is with God, our Good Shepherd. He is our shepherd and we are the sheep that are in his pasture and in his care. He knows us intimately. He knows the one that fell into a pit and cannot get out. He knows the one that has a scar from her past. He knows the one that wants to escape his care. He knows us–oh, how he knows us. Intimately, deeply, nothing can be hidden from him.
A shepherd loves his sheep–they are his pride, his joy, his everything. So it is with God. There is nothing that he would rather do than be with us. He has sacrificed his very life for us. Christ declares “ I am the good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11. His very life was broken for us so that we, his sheep, could live. It is hard to fathom how he could love us this much. This is a love that relentlessly pursues us.
He asks, beckons, and calls us to believe that he longs to take us to pastureland that is green, rich and beautiful . As the sheep in his care, we have to believe that our Shepherd truly loves us and desires what is best for us. We have to trust Him when he says we are his precious children and His absolute treasure. (Romans 8:15 Deut 26:18) We have to follow our savior. He is the one to lead us, and we are to follow Him where he leads. But where He leads us is a good place. He is not leading us somewhere to harm us, but rather he leads us to a spacious place full of peaceful grazing land.
He knows us intimately. He knows our very thoughts before we ever speak them. He even knows the things that we don’t even name inside of ourselves, for they feel too dark and black. He knows our burdens, hurts and weaknesses, and he’s always beckoning, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give your rest.” (Matt 11:28)
Because of our Lord’s care and love for us as our Good Shepherd, He is worthy of our trust. May we run and turn to Him. He longs for us to trust in His love, goodness and grace.
Lord, Oh, how you know me intimately and deeply. There is nothing I can hide from you. Help me to trust you fully as you lead me into a spacious place.