I would rather worship my Lord in a tent than to be in a vast cathedral, with all the regalia, and find Him missing. These were my words to someone recently. I meant it … oh, how I meant it!
On the way home from our church, I prayed: “Father, I don’t want to lose You.” I wasn’t concerned about losing salvation; yet I was keenly aware of how far I’m apt to wander from His nearness while proclaiming that His intimacy with me is paramount in my heart!
I came to the realization: we cannot relate to our Lord by remote control. How convenient the sometimes-challenging television remote control can be. We sit comfortably, distanced from the actual set, and dial up the intensity of our engagement with whatever is playing. “On” button. “Channel surfing.” “Volume up or down” … Christian channel … nightly news … ‘talking heads’ … do I want to reeeeeaaallly hear Him, or do I want a faintly audible hint at what He has in mind? Worst still, do I just surf past His voice?
My heart was sad as I realized “all we like sheep have gone astray, every one to his own way.” [Isaiah 53:6] How easily we are seduced by the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life ~ and in the blink of an eye.
Eastern shepherds provide an afternoon shelter built among the shrubs, where the sheep can rest. Corralled within this structure, the sheep can rest while the shepherd keeps watch. Off to the side at a small opening, the shepherd lies, so the sheep cannot go in or out without crossing over him.
His plan of safety is and has been in place, divinely designed to care for His own. It’s we who wander from the Shepherd’s wise and tender care … ever so easily … ever so naively … and sometime ever so determinedly.