I have to say thank you to my dear friend from Sunday School class who gave a devotion at our Women's Tea about our Good Shepherd giving us green things to nibble on in the desert. She had these visual aids showing the grazing lands of Israel with little dots of sheep on rocky, sandy hillsides. She went on to explain how evening condensation dripped down the rocks to form little patches of green at the base. (Gen. 37:12; Ps.23; John 10)
But my mind went to another place while she was talking. I thought about what the sheep's perspective was. They gladly chomped away at whatever the Shepherd led them to and when it was gone, followed him to the next spot. Not at any time in this scenario did the sheep look up and say, “What a lousy excuse for grazing land this is!” or “How am I supposed to survive out here in this desolate place?” Aahh wretched heart of mine, isn't that what I do, nearly all the time as I look at the circumstances around me? I question and doubt, even when every single day I have my daily piece of nourishment right in front of my nose. I keep looking up and all around, many times away at the future, and see what's lacking.
I am reminded of the Lord's prayer (Matt. 6; Luke 11) where it says “give us this day our daily bread” because we learn that God's intention is for us to be grateful that he provides every day, what we need without fail. We also learn that we don't need to worry about the day after that and the day after that (also from Matt 6).
I am also reminded of John Calvin who, as an exercise in understanding God's provision, counted every catastrophy he could think of that did not happen to him even though it could have, so he would have a keener sense of all that God provided in the form of protection.
Both of these examples stir me to remember that I can go through life looking at the desolation of the dry desert places, or I can focus on today and the satisfying patch of green laid right before me.
So I got this all worked out in my mind and I shared it over kitchen clean-up with my son, thinking, “I'll keep him from falling into the 'woe is me' trap by sharing this little nugget as a teachable moment.” But boy did I get a surprise. He said to me, “Yeah, I try to stay away from that kind of thinking, and I have to keep myself from scolding my friends when they go there, saying, 'then this awful thing happened and then this other awful thing happened' I don't want to sound mean.” So basically he is already a much better sheep than I am, and that's where I found my most precious morsel of green for that day!
Thank you Lord, for elders and youngsters who can breathe truth into my life as we walk together on the path you have given us. Thank you for guiding us always to green pastures and still waters.