Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Psalm 100 (NLT)
[Jesus said,] â€œI am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â John 10:14-16 (NLT)
God made us. We belong to God. We are God’s people who belong in His pasture. That means that He puts His protection around us. He provides us with all that we need. It’s a beautiful picture to keep inside our minds and hearts, isn’t it? Life doesn’t always look like a reflection of that picture. Sometimes life is just beyond hard.
I have had so many prayer requests this year. Young people dying from cancer. Hard-working, faithful people who have lost their jobs. Others who are struggling with banks to pay their mortgages and car loans. And more who give of their time and talents to bless â€œthe least of theseâ€ and yet, they continue to barely keep the lights on in their own homes. Where is God in the lives of His children?
Right there. Where He has always been. These difficulties, horrible times, did not just begin in the last century. When James and Peter and Andrew and Paul and their families and friends were being persecuted and killed off one by one, they too wondered where God was. God is faithful and loving. He is there to encourage and lift up. The question is not â€œWhere is God?â€ but â€œWhere are His children?â€. When life comes roaring like a lion â€“ loud, aggressive, and scary â€“ what is my response? Do I give up, crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head? Do I beat my fists on the table in anger and frustration? Or do I fall to my knees saying, â€œHelp me, God!â€? (I’ve done all of those!)
God knows me. He did not fall asleep (Isaiah 40:28) and so is taken by surprise by my circumstances. He has the wisdom to guide me through whatever choppy waters I must navigate. Take a few minutes and read Psalm 37. God promises that He does not abandon the righteous and their children will not beg for bread. There are many more good promises just in that one chapter. When my life here is throwing all the muck and mud it can, that is when I need to hear God’s truth about who I am and what I am in the future. It is the hope that is Jesus that means more than this life. He is the anchor in a world that changes like the wind that blows across a beach, a mountain range or a flat land. Isn’t that what I want deep down? Aren’t I looking for truth to hang on to amid the shifting sand of my life?
I am so thankful for the loving LORD whose love is not counted because of how good I am. God’s love is the warm wrap on these cold, difficult winters in my life. I am humbled and so blessed by my Father’s love.