Do you have a loved one or a good friend that is totally lost, or is floundering in deep waters, or has turned away from the Lord? Do NOT give up!
Just as a parent would go earnestly searching for their missing child; to find them, to hug them and bring them home…. OR if it is someone you know that’s drowning, you jump in to the icy water to rescue them, drag them out of the water, and give them CPR and warmth…
That is exactly what Jesus does. He is the perfect example of a good shepherd. He will go after that one to “find” and rescue them, whether it is a sheep or a goat, a wayward believer “prodigal son”, or a stubborn unbeliever. He will lift them up and put them on his shoulders, carrying them through the muck. He will bring them back to the herd. He is there to be the strength that they need, the protection from the one who walks about as a roaring lion, the shoulder to cry on, the voice that will calm them. Why? Because He knows they are weak, and vulnerable. Because He hears our prayers too.
Each of the jobs a shepherd performs, you could say Jesus does, both physically and spiritually:
1. He protects from predators, aka. the evil one or his demonic cronies. He provides the tools to help in the time of trouble as well.
2. He leads to green pastures, through the Holy Spirit, into his Word, that will more than satisfy our hunger and give us healthy growth.
3. He gives the living water that always satisfies, if we choose to drink from his well.
4. He gives a time of rest; from work, from the daily grind, from 6 days of focusing on our life, to rejuvenate our strength and spirit for Him.
5. He heals through miracles, how He created us, and with medicine.
6. He teaches about birth, how to be born again in his Spirit.
7. He herds his sheep together in unity, in worship, working for good, in serving others.
Who is His flock? Those that He loves; the sheep (his followers, his children), and the goats (those He pursues who don’t follow Him yet). We must trust Jesus, the great Shepherd, to be there for our loved ones that are lost or are struggling with addictions, temptations, anger, or that are listening to a voice that would lead them astray. He loves them so much more than we do.
I know for a fact that He pursues those that He loves! I have personally witnessed the Lord intervening on behalf of a young man that He desires to use for His kingdom! The Lord is NOT giving up on him. Even though this young man keeps turning from His Savior, Jesus continues to be that Shepherd, picking this man up and putting him back on his feet. He has not let him wander too far. If the Lord won’t quit on him, then how can I?
Sometimes, the Lord chooses to let them make a mess out of their lives just for them to experience the consequences. Their rescue may not be immediate, as least to our liking. It may take more drastic actions like them hitting rock bottom for them to see the depths of their problem, and how it affects others.
While we are witnessing their pain, we need to do our part and earnestly “remind” the Lord of our heart’s desire for them, but always be trusting in His outcome.
It is essential to be there for them, with forgiveness at the helm, love in our heart, patience in our words, and with hope for their future.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; for the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Jesus knows what it is like to be a sheep. He gave up the Kingdom of Heaven to become one of us. He has been like the sheep before the shearers. He was led to his accusers. He was taken to His cross, where He sacrificially laid down his life as the perfect atonement for you, for me, and for those whom we are praying earnestly for.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9
Food for thought: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. If you have tried to help someone and they don’t receive it, remember that they are still in the Lord’s hands. Keep praying for that one!
Fun facts: Sheep will recognize their shepherd’s voice. They have rectangular pupils, have much better depth perception than we do, and their fleece will grow forever. In fact, one sheep named Shrek hid in a cave for 6 years before they sheared him, and he produced enough wool to make 20 mens’ suits. One pound of wool can make up to 10 miles of yarn, and one sheep can produce up to 30 pounds of wool a year.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Sheep Grazing