“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and they know me.” - John 10:14
I have these joint issues that won’t seem to go away. I’ve got balky knees and bad shoulders. I’ve had, to date, one knee surgery and two shoulder surgeries. It’s bothersome really because I never feel 100%. My problem is that I’m a 100% effort sorta guy. And I’m really into fitness and I am extremely active. Yet, there are days when I can’t do what I want, what I feel I’m capable of because of these issues. I’ve prayed that God would heal me from these things. He is, after all, the Great Physician, right? I mean, I’ve really fervently prayed for healing.
And God seems to be ignoring me. I have to admit; this has really pissed me off. ‘Why won’t You heal me,’ I asked over and over again. Nothing. Silence. Then, I started bitching at Him about it. I’m reminded when I do this that the apostle Paul had a “thorn” in his flesh also. Maybe, I thought, my “thorn” is to keep me humble cause I tend to get full of myself at times.
Recently, I was meeting with some fellow warriors. We were discussing John chapter 10. In this chapter, Jesus refers to himself as ‘shepherd’ a lot. Read it, you’ll see. So we were talking about this and my buddy Tom tells this story. He said he had heard this in a sermon. Listen to this and let it soak in.
Apparently, some sheep have a tendency at times to wander off. When this happens over and over, the shepherd will break one of the lamb’s legs. Then the shepherd will set the leg back and, while the leg heals, the shepherd will carry that lamb. Once the leg is healed, that lamb will not leave the shepherd again. I just sat there, stunned. A light came on in my heart. I could hear His voice in my heart saying, “Are you paying attention? Look at me, I have something to show you.” That’s when He told me what this was all about and walked me through it.
It’s all about the grace of the Shepherd. See, to break a lamb’s leg sounds cruel to everyone but a shepherd. The point is to teach the lamb that, apart from the protection and provision of the shepherd, there is only danger and death. I’m not saying that God is gonna break your leg or give you balky knees to make you more dependent on Him.
What I am saying is that He may allow you to know disappointment, despair, pain and discomfort. This is for our good.
Parents discipline their children out of love, to correct improper behavior. God allows life to punish us at times, cause us pain for a reason. That reason? So that we, the sheep, understand that our provision and protection is in the presence of the Shepherd. When we understand that, we recognize Him as “the good shepherd” and we run back to the fold, back to His arms.