Following the Good Shepherd

We have been in a season of waiting that has seemed never ending. We thought we finally saw the finish line in the distance, when a new bend in the road blind-sided us. Just two months ago, I wondered if we had misheard God and had bulldozed forward of our own wills. Did we trick ourselves into thinking we were following God’s plan for our lives when in reality we were merely trying to satisfy our own desires? Did we misunderstand the path He laid out for us or take a wrong turn along the way? Were the difficulties and delays meant to redirect our steps to fall back in line with Him?

Being tethered to the Lord requires being in His Word and in prayer so you can listen for His Will. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). God has provided us with everything we need to know Him and to become more like Him as we rely on His sovereignty. But my heart and mind is prone to wander from the truth He has sown deep in my soul. By returning to His Word, I hear His voice and can rest in the knowledge that He cares for and loves me.

This week, I studied John chapter 10 with my Bible Study Fellowship group. One verse that spoke to my specific circumstances this week was verse 4, “When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.” We are facing a lot of unknowns and have been asking a lot of why, how, and when questions about our future. This verse reminded me that my Good Shepherd goes before me. He is not following behind and prodding me along to see if I can forge my own path. He goes before me, clearing the path and making my way straight. I need only to follow Him in confidence of His goodness and kindness.

We have continually sought the Lord during this season of waiting. We have prayerfully asked Him to close doors when necessary and to direct our steps in the way He would have us go. Sometimes this has included paths we would not have chosen. But we have faithfully followed Him and we can trust that His way is sure, even if it is longer with more twists and turns than expected.

Something I love about Bible Study Fellowship is the provided lectures and notes for each lesson. In the lesson notes over John 10 there was this tidbit that spoke clearly to me. “At its simplest, life with Christ means knowing Him, listening for His voice, and following where He leads.” Jesus stated that His sheep know His voice and flee from the voice of a stranger. I pray that His Word will be hidden in my heart so that I can differentiate His Spirit’s whisperings from the misguided voices of the world and my own sinful flesh. Also from the lesson notes, “Jesus simplified the essence of true faith: He leads and we follow.” When I am tempted to run ahead and blaze my own trail, I pray that I will be patient and will trust my Good Shepherd who “leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:2).

I am so thankful for the living and active Word of God that speaks to me personally just when I need it. I am so grateful to be part of a community of believers to study the Word with, to join together in prayer, and to encourage each other. Bible Study Fellowship is a great resource and community available around the world, but being a part of a local Church body is so necessary for spiritual growth as well. Being tethered to Christ is strengthened by also being tethered to His body of believers.

Our season of waiting continues, but we hold fast to the hope of our Lord and Savior. We remain in the flock and follow our Good Shepherd, trusting His care and provision. The path may be unknown, but we remain confident in the Way.

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