“…For you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)
A Good Shepherd stays with the sheep. His presence is essential to the well being of the sheep. He is there to lead them to pleasant places and He is there to bring comfort in the shadows. His presence brings a peace that allows them to rest and a security that gives them security. He feeds them, leads them and protects them. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics given by Jesus when He explains the difference between a good shepherd and a hired hand or bad shepherd.
“He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees…because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:12, 13)
You are not alone. Your Shepherd is with you. He is present! Our Shepherd does not a “phone it in” caretaker. He does not stand far off and hope we are okay. Our God is not one for long distance relationships. He stays with us. This is true fellowship. This is love. This is a promise we can and should hold on to with all our strength!
This is something Jesus told His followers over and over again. The last words in the Gospel of Matthew are, “and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Even His words to the thief on the cross reveal to us the promise of His presence, “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Of course! Jesus came as Emmanuel which means “God with us”. That’s what it’s all about! Our God is a personal God. He is close to us. He is here. Therefore, we need not be afraid.
It is when we begin to wander that fear begins to creep in.
An example I remember is Peter after Jesus was arrested. He followed the soldiers and Jesus to the courtyard of the High Priest, which is more than most of the disciples, but…Scripture tells us that he “followed at a distance” (Mark 14:54). Putting distance between you and the Savior sets one up for failure. It was only a matter of time before Peter stumbled and committed his infamous denial.
We have all been there. Maybe it’s a crisis at home or the threat of a virus. Something distracts us from Jesus and we forget that He is with us. Are you experiencing fear right now? Why? If God is with you you do not need to be afraid. Maybe you have allowed a little distance to come between you and Jesus. The challenges you are facing today are blocking your view.
Hear the words of your Shepherd today, “Fear not, I am with you”. Take time today to close the gap…get in close and tighten up the fellowship that casts away every fear.