Yesterday, I was reminded of Jesus as Shepherd through my friend and mentor, Melba. We were talking through suffering and broken dreams and trust in Him. I expressed how I can look back and see how God had drawn me to Himself and prepared me for this time in my past heartaches. I had seen how He carried me in the past and drawn me into intimacy through prayer and clinging to the truth of His word. If not for the difficulties of the past 3 years, I would not be prepared for the battle at hand now.
She spoke of her favorite picture of Jesus as Shepherd. There is a beautiful and true imagery to Christ as Shepherd to us. We all are more familiar with the 23rd Psalm and the beauty of His care for us, His provision, His love, His steadfastness. I also learned that shepherds would sometimes break a leg or legs of the sheep to teach them if they were going astray. The shepherd would then carry them close for the time of healing teaching intimacy and dependence upon the shepherd so they would follow. Most of the time, the sheep would not want to leave the shepherd after that. My heart so swelled when thinking of that because I have experienced that in Christ. I have been broken and experienced Him carrying me and calling me to greater intimacy. There was joy in that time. And, as I think on that picture now, I am comforted. He points out sin in me not for me to atone but that He has atoned. He made the atonement and He binds up my wounds caring for me, growing me. He is my safety, my refuge. What wondrous love is this, o my soul. There is no greater picture to me right now of His all sufficiency than Shepherd. It is a beautiful way to show His character and His heart.
Dave Hunt wrote a song called “Search Me” that speaks to this…
Search Me, O God and know my heart.
Test me, O God and know my thoughts
See if there be any wicked way in me
Lead me the Way everlasting.
Hold me close to your heart
Never drift, Never part
Let me know you are near
In your love there’s no fear
Hold Me near, Hold me close to your heart.
We sang this song last night at Crossroad. It is amazing how God uses things together. We had just talked about this scripture from Psalm 139 at Bible study about examining our hearts for sin with God, and then, I had talked about shepherd earlier in the day. It was the marriage of these two thoughts in the song…test me, show me my sin and hold me close to bind me up. He is amazing, friends. He calls us to intimacy with Him…brokenness…and he carries us and gives us the strength to make us whole. May I worship Him today in thankfulness, in awe, in trust and intimacy.