January 29, 2021

Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you—Hebrews 13:5

The magnitude of the Shepherd’s promise, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” must be repeated to us over and over again, must be revealed to us through a series of events: during storms—both literal and metaphorically—in times of loneliness or fear, during times of constant pain, when grief has visited  us after a loved one’s passing, when sudden, unexpected crises affect our financial stability, when unemployment surprises us, when children are rebellious or become prodigals, when spouse stops being loving toward us or even leaves us, even when we are at death’s door, the Good Shepherd is right there with us! We discover this precious promise “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” is true indeed!

How do we know this to be true? When we have that feeling of calm and we should be anything but. When we know exactly what to do; when we just know the right thing to do. When we feel suddenly strengthened where only a few moments earlier we were feeling overwhelmed, weak, or helpless. When we have wisdom or that inner peace that passes all human understanding. When we discern and sense what God (or the forces of darkness) are up to even though the future or situation is cloaked in mystery. When we are alone but not feeling lonely. When we have a spirit of bravery when normally we are easily frightened. When we feel bold and courageous when normally we are a bit shy or timid. When we know which way to go though, we have no outer guide or helpful information. When we have the strength or determination to keep moving despite roadblocks or barriers. When our faith increases despite a bleak outlook or experiencing the most troubling times and circumstances.  

All of these and so much more are the ways we know the Good Shepherd is with us. It is easy to forget his ever-present nature in our everyday life. We are busy with our day, going about our routine, life as usual. The Shepherd often goes unnoticed. But we cannot help but pause and give him the glory when something that is out of the norm, something exceptional, something tragic, something that gives us pause in life and we remember we could not have made it through or endured or persevered without that divine presence of the Good Shepherd with us.

Today we might be encouraged to remember him at the end of our day even if we do not remember to acknowledge him at the beginning with an anticipatory prayer of thanksgiving and praise for all he will do. What a beautiful nature, a comforting and assuring presence the Shepherd is for us. May we be encouraged to recognize him more and more to sense him more and more, thank him more and more, praise him more and more, follow him more and more, definitely love him more and more. Let’s Pray

Good Shepherd, you are great and worthy to be praised! Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes, coming and going but you never say goodbye and you never leave. You are with us for all our normal, daily activities but also with us in those big moments, whether they are joyous, disconcerting, even tragic. We praise you for your nature of steadfastness, loyalty, and faithfulness. You are our joy, our peace, our strength, our wisdom, our courage, our awesome Good Shepherd. In Your name we pray. Amen               

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