Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Good Shepherd

After I graduated from college too many years ago, I took a trip to England, and my favorite memory is from a day spent in the Lake District with the family that hosted me. As we were leaving the area where we had done some climbing, we heard a dog barking frantically at a shepherd, a salty old character in tweed cap and jacket with a walking stick. He followed the dog up the side of a hill and came down with a newborn lamb around his neck.

Just as that quaint old English gentlemen would not have left the area and ignored that barking dog, nor does Jesus leave us alone to fend for ourselves. The only difference is that we have to be willing to allow Him to lead us out of the dark places we inhabit when we give in to temptation, sin and despair. For reasons unknown to us, we are not always able to find consolation in prayer. Perhaps this is the most profound way in which Jesus allows us a share in His suffering. Did He not cry out to His Father from the cross in the pain of abandonment? When we are unable to pray, or find ourselves too unsettled, angry or saddened to pray, we have to remember that even though we may not always be able to feel His presence, He is there just the same. And there is no place so horrible or forbidding that He will not go after us, but only if we are willing to follow Him.

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