One of my favorite depictions of Jesus is Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I love how Jesus uses the familiar role of the shepherd to demonstrate our relationship with him and who he is to us. He is a caretaker and watches over us, making sure our environment is safe and free from predators. He is both gentle and caring, yet calls us loudly and powerfully to him. He tends to us and our needs.
Although we humans are not actually sheep, Jesus did know a thing or two about our human nature when he compared us to them. He knew that as our Shepherd, we would need to know his voice. Sheep only follow the voice of their trusted shepherd. The shepherd’s voice is familiar and brings them comfort.
I have been thinking about how we all need the Good Shepherd in our daily lives right now. I’ve had to ask myself continuously, “Am I still recognizing Jesus’s voice in my life with everything going on? Or, have I been paying too much attention to a voice that is not of the Shepherd? Am I leaning into the comfort of knowing he is watching over me and the unfolding of all circumstances, keeping me safe? Or, have I been distracted and held in fear, allowing the consuming nature of social media, statistics, and politics to impair my discernment?”
I’m not certain there’s a right or wrong way to navigate life right now, but I know that for me, I’ve needed to rely on the peace and comfort of my Shepherd. In today’s world, recognizing the voice of Jesus may not be as simple as it is for a sheep in a pasture, but he is always there guiding us. We know God will never leave us. This is a promise. So, I’ve decided to lean in closer to his message and get quiet enough to feel its truth. I’ve decided to be softer with myself and others, and to be more intentional on filling myself up with healthy activities, thoughts, foods, and conversations. In a climate filled with the voice of many unfamiliar shepherds calling our name, let’s decide to listen to the trusted voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus.