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I Am A Sheep

I read Phillip Keller’s book, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm Twenty-three” years ago. (Isn’t it just astounding how much smarter we are years later?) I’m rereading and am amazed in finding out just how much time is invested by my beloved Shepherd in watching over Anabel, this “helpless, timid, feeble creature whose only recourse is to run.” I really can’t lay claim to being feeble or timid or helpless–until something comes my way that I can’t handle! But the truth of the matter has finally made its way into my belief system: Without Him I can’t handle anything (John 15:5)! Not just the difficult things–NOTHING! I am not supposed to be a take-charge, competent, strong, opinionated, independent creature fighting for survival in my world. I’m under His care! Ephesians 1:4 from the J. B. Phillips Modern English Version says it this way: … before the foundation of the world He chose us to become, in Christ, His holy and blameless children living within His constant care.

A sheep needs that constant care. As Keller points out, there are four crucial areas that must be taken care of and demand the shepherd’s attention at all times: Freedom from fear (predators, insecurity), freedom from friction (stress, tension, competition), freedom from being tormented by little things (parasites, fleas, flies), and freedom from hunger.

I guess (truthfully speaking) the only one of the four that isn’t an on-going problem for me is the last one, freedom from hunger. And when I analyze that need I must agree that the Shepherd takes care of that one for me by supplying the money to purchase food. So, much to my consternation, I confess that I can’t handle any of the four! Oh, I can do things for fear management, and I can talk to myself about the stress and tension that confronts me almost anywhere I am, and I can steer clear of the irritating, demanding, little things at times, but nothing permanent. All of the ways I try to “care” for me are tenuous, finite, fragile, man-made resources.

What do I need to do? Read the verse again from Ephesians and believe it. What? That’s your answer to this complex problem? Yes. It says that I am living under His constant care. Name someone else–any body–that you would prefer to take care of you and watch over you constantly.

Who else but God goes back and forth to Heaven? Who else [but God] holds the wind in His fists, and wraps up the oceans in His cloak? Who else [but God] created the world? If there is any other–what is his name–and his son’s name–if you know it (Proverbs 30:4)?

I am learning from Keller’s book that a sheep, left to itself in the world, won’t last long–or if it does manage to last, that sheep will be clawing, gnawing, and “butting” constantly to survive. But when there is a shepherd who loves his sheep and watches over them 24/7, everything is going to be all right.

The Lord is the One who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed (Deut. 31:8).

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs, And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes (Isaiah 40:11).

Casting the whole of your care–all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concern, once and for all–on Him–for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully–(I Peter 5:7 AMP).

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.