Do you sometimes feel like a shepherdess, as though a flock of vulnerable creatures depended upon you for safety, nourishment, and their very lives? I think in many ways we are shepherdesses whom God has entrusted with the safekeeping of many of His sheep. Be they our children, grandchildren, or those who would learn from us, we have a weighty responsibility to be a guiding hand through the sunny days and a bright beacon through the dark nights of life.
Just knowing myself too well, with my shortcomings and feebleness, I feel sometimes that I am not up to the task. And surely I am not. And neither are you. That is precisely why faith comes to us in those moments when we realize with stark certainty that we are not enough. We look up when all else fails and our strength and courage are spent, for we have looked in all the other places and found them dry and barren. So we cry out, and He comes and does for us, and through us, what we cannot.
Simply. Elegantly. Mostly in ways we never expected. How many of us have risen throughout the night to care for a fussy baby or sick child, knowing bitterly how exhausted we were at the end of the previous day, only to find the endless night and unrelenting needs of others asking the impossible of us? Where does one find the strength, the patience, the sheer ability to stay awake and keep serving, when we know that another such day fast approaches?
Only from God, I contend. His Holy Spirit power holds up the arms that hold the suffering child. His grace puts yet another lullaby or praise song on our lips, and we find the new day dawning with a tiny, yet sufficient boost of supernatural energy given to us to begin again.
Let us remember our patterns in Scripture. The love chapter in First Corinthians 13, and Proverbs 31, to name a few. Empowered by His unconditional love for us, may we extend that love to others, especially our little sheep. We must for their sake, and for His, walk in forgiveness, and in wisdom, for there are great things in store for us. With His help we are examples of what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. There are many, close to us or on the periphery of our lives, who are watching, and hoping for a bit more light to keep them safely on the good path. Will we hold our little candles aloft for them and help them find their way?