My wife and I had several plans for Thanksgiving and none of them came into being. Something unique happened that was never in our plans. Unpredictability has been a part of this unprecedented year. And I fear that it has been a source of a great deal of stress and anxiety. We’ve been spoiled by the amount of control that we have had and we have been fooled into believing we can build our lives from a blueprint of our own making. Though, as people of faith, we are to live available and prepared to adjust our lives to the Lord’s bidding.
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. – Ex 13:21-22
When God led His people out of bondage and into freedom, He went before them 24/7 leading the way and setting the timing. Where the pillar went they followed. When the pillar stayed, they waited. They assumed an attitude of flexibility. Every day was unique and they never knew what God would do. They just kept their eyes open and trusted God to do what was needed and take them where He needed them to go. Just follow, trust and obey.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. – John 10:3-4
In the New Testament, Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd. Jesus leads the sheep and they follow because they know His voice. The sheep do not present a plan to the shepherd. The sheep don’t get concerned about the constant changes. They simply listen to the shepherds voice and follow.
In the Health Clinic this week, I saw a sign that said, “If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or fearful, see a professional.” Where I have a great deal of respect for the counseling profession and recommend it, I think much of today’s angst can be relieved by giving your plans over to the Lord and listening to the guiding voice of the Good Shepherd.
When I was in little league as a young boy, I was placed in the outfield. I wasn’t particularly talented so I played where there was little action to keep me from harming the team. One sunny afternoon out in center field I trapped a bumblebee under the front spike of my cleats. I didn’t particularly want to kill it. But I was afraid to let it go. Then, I heard the crowd call my name. When I looked up, a pop fly hit me right in the face! As often as our coach told me I had to be ready, the pace of the game lulled me into a world of my own making. When I needed to move, I was not really in the game.
Every day the rules are changing, plans are being disrupted, demands are being made, events are being cancelled, and our lives are exhibiting an unpredictability as never before. This much disruption is bound to disturb and unsettle us. Ideally it should not. We must be on our toes and ever ready for what ever comes our way. We must listen for the Shepherd’s voice for where He is leading in every circumstance. We must trust that a loving God goes before us and behind us 24/7. It is a day to get your hands off the wheel, your eyes open to the opportunities, and get in the game.