Yesterday Derek presented the image of a shepherd breaking the legs of a sheep as something good. The image was a bit jarring to me. Maybe also for you. Derek noted that the power of the shepherd would cause some fear to leave again. Speaking of this, Derek continued,
“This reminds me of Romans 11:22, “Note then the severity and the kindness of God: severity toward those who have fallen, and kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off.”
While I would say our primary focus and experience as Christians is the goodness of God and his love shown to us in the cross, and the gentle guidance and transformation of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we still must not turn a blind eye to the reality of God’s just character. Paul reminded the Corinthian church, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” What we do matters. He is holy; apart from God, we are not holy and deserving of his wrath. He has made us and he can unmake us if he so chooses.
It’s interesting the Lord has helped me unpack a lot of fears I’ve had and has delivered me from them. We do not have to live in fear, for “we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). I suppose in a way when we give in to fears, we are saying, “this thing that I am fearing is worthy. It is worthy of my fear.” And that’s a lie. We fear God alone because he alone is worthy. He alone is worth beholding with a healthy fear and pure reverence.
So I challenge you to be still. To allow him to reveal who he is in the silence. Take time to stop all the doing, the talking, the praying and reading. Give the Holy Spirit the space. The space to do whatever he wants with you. I believe a greater personal knowledge of who God is in his greatness and intimacy will help us remain faithful, and worshiping him can cause all other fears to melt away.”
There are numerous directions to go with a reflection like this one. Rather than try to tackle them in maybe the most logical order, I’ll share my own response so far and hopefully it can aid you too. My mind immediately sought to deconstruct how someone deliberately breaking my legs and draping me over their shoulders could be healthy. (Assuming the goodness of the shepherd) I think the point of the image is that the time spent healing would be time resting. It would be time of intimacy with the shepherd and this would restore my faith in his goodness. Resting, even if it’s an enforced time of healing, with God builds an intimacy with Him. And intimacy with God produces faith in His goodness.
The Psalm Derek quoted about God making us lie down is quite powerful. I found it quite helpful to recognize that God can make me rest and restore my soul in order that I may then be led thru the valley of the shadow of death. I am able to pass thru the valley because of the intimacy with God.
Until next time,
- Ben :D