Recently, I had painful muscle tension in my neck that took me out of commission and to a number of doctors for relief. Each mentioned that the problem
I was experiencing had been in my neck much longer than the first sign of pain. I was completely immobilized as every movement I made would send shooting
pains through my neck. Moving just an inch would require a carefully calculated progression of movements.
Lying in bed, I thought about the presence of God. He said that He would never leave us or forsake us. He is with me all the time, yet how often had I neglected to notice that He was there? How many times had it taken a painful experience or an extravagantly noticeable situation before I recognized His presence? Sure, the Good Shepherd is present with us always, but are we present with Him?
Reading through the Old Testament, I noticed the many reminders from the Lord to His people that He was their God and they were His people. Yet in so many moments, they still forgot. I noticed how often the Scriptures mentioned that Moses did just as the Lord instructed. “Just as” ... exactly as God had commanded left no room for disobedience. He acted upon the Lord’s word exactly as He had received it. In today’s world of smartphones, push notifications, and constant distractions, I wonder if we truly understand this life of hearing our Shepherd’s voice and acting upon it exactly as commanded. Do we depend on His word for survival, for life? Do we truly crave His presence?
As I moved to create the most optimal conditions for my injury, I reflected on what my life would look like if I were to make every move to accommodate the presence of my living God, my Good Shepherd. Every day, every moment would be a constant conversation laying aside the things I know for the things I hear. I crave to live in the intimacy of His presence, but there are so many moments when I run on autopilot or I just want to accomplish tasks quickly. My question then became this: How much do I accommodate my own flesh? In every moment, I am given a choice. In those moments, for what and whom do I reach? Am I mindful of the choices before me?
Jesus lived perfectly, doing only the Father’s will. He chose to follow every leading of the Father as He rested in His presence, trusted in His protection, and was sustained by His provision. He lived a life of risk, obedience, and intimacy. In every moment, he deliberately chose to follow His Shepherd. We have that same choice. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Are we hearing and choosing Him?
Jesus gave them this answer:
Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.