2 But he who enters through the door is the shepherd of the sheep.3 To him the gate-keeper opens. The sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.5 A stranger they will not follow, for they do not know the voice of strangers….9 I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go out and find green pastures. 10…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
There is a puddle that forms right in front of the gate of our barn every time it rains. It doesn’t even have to rain much for this puddle to form, so you can imagine what it’s like now, with the “extra” rain we’ve been receiving this last few weeks.
Sheep don’t like wet feet. AT. ALL. (They also don’t like going through any gate that’s not their “regular path.” They truly are creatures of habit.)
Each morning when I go out to lead the girls to pasture they jet out of the barn…only to come to a halt right before the gate. Crippling fear and confusion grip them at the sight of that puddle. They want SO badly to get to that green pasture…. but the puddle.
Most mornings they eventually tip-toe/ leap through it to dry ground as quickly as possible. But there are some mornings where 1 or 2… or even the whole flock panic. They come to that puddle and hit the brakes. They know where they need to go. They know where they want to be. They know the puddle isn’t that deep, that, in the grand scheme of their “journey” it isn’t much- but still they stop. They run back to the barn, then in circles around the pen trying to find another way- ANY way that doesn’t include a puddle- or a gate they’re not familiar with, I’ve found. (Insert eye roll here) They’re lost- they can see where they want to be. They can see the way to get there. They KNOW they can do it, that if they follow me, I will lead them on the driest path… but they just can’t make themselves have the faith to get there.
For me, it’s frustrating. (Usually because I’m trying to get this done before my kids wake up- and each second I spend trying to coax the girls out a stinkin’ gate through a little water is a second my toddlersaures rex’s have to wake up and begin unattended mayhem.) But recently, while trying to coax one girl out of the gate (actually 3 different gates)… the thought occurred to me…..how often is our shepherd trying to lead us to green pasture, a place we want to be, we NEED to be, but the only way there is through the puddle.. or an unfamiliar “gate” so we freeze. We panic. We refuse to step in the puddle- to follow through the gate and around the barn. How often do we miss out on the green pasture because we haven’t got enough faith to do what we are called to do, what we •need• to do because it’s not comfortable? We might get our hands a little too dirty, or take a route no one we know has ever taken before? How often, once we finally work the courage up to take the trek do we think to ourselves “oh this wasn’t that bad.” Or “it could have gone worse!” And once we get to that green pasture we find ourselves thinking “I’ve been missing out on all of this?!”
I know I have. I know I will again. I know I let my fear of the unknown or my disinterest in having “dirty hands” slow my progress- hold up my journey. I know what I need to do, I know where I need to be, but I find myself praying to God for another way- an easier, cleaner, more comfortable path. We all do- but this journey? It isn’t our own to choose. (Sorry inspirational quote makers.)And if we will allow our good Shepherd lead us- to follow His voice when He calls our names- we will find our own life of abundance in our own green pastures.
Have you been listening to the Shepherd?
Passage from John 10: 2-10