But, I think one reason we can often struggle to describe God is because we allow our current circumstances to be our filter. It is human nature to see God through our current reality. When life is filled with disappointment, hardship, and fear, God may be viewed as wrathful, judgmental, and harsh. We could conclude that He doesn’t care and has simply checked out.
Time and again, I have to remind myself that I do not define an infinite God. I am not the center of the universe from which all things are determined. My temporary circumstances are a vapor and cannot effect the identify of an eternal Creator. So, where do we look? I mostly find my anchor in scripture. But, more specifically, scripture that defines the heart and nature of God as revealed in the life and teaching of Jesus.
In John 10, John records the words of Jesus as He declared Himself to be the Good Shepherd. This is one of my favorite “I am” statements. I’ve never personally met a shepherd, but in the context in which Jesus used this metaphor, it made perfect sense to those in the crowd around Him. Taking what I understand of the roles of shepherds, and more so from what we see in the life of Jesus, a “good” shepherd does three things:
- He nurtures
- He guides
- He protects
During this uncertain season we’ve found ourselves in, if someone were to ask us to fill in the blank for “The Lord is ____“, we may hear responses such as:
- “The Lord is angry.”
- “The Lord is disappointed.”
- “The Lord is punishing.”
- “The Lord is absent.”
However, the Lord is constant: He never changes. He transcends time. None of this is taking Him by surprise, and He is already on the other side of the coronavirus. So, what if we choose, at least for the next 14 days, to see our circumstances through the lens of a God who is our shepherd? A God who nurtures, guides, and protects? What impact could that have? How could this focus effect our anxieties and fears?
One last point I’d like to share on this piece of our passage. David, the author of Psalm 23 and who was once a shepherd himself, began with “The Lord is my shepherd.” He didn’t say that the Lord is a shepherd or even that He is our shepherd. I believe David used the word “my” here for a reason. Our God is personal. How does the use of “my” affect the overall meaning of the verse for you?
I’d love to hear what you think! Share your thoughts below, or step back to Instagram or Facebook and comment there. Let’s thrive through this together!