He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:3-4
When we lived near Washington, DC, we could tour the city and its sites when friends and family visited. I was reminded of a specific event on a recent visit to Arlington Cemetery. It was one of those typical sultry summer days – clear blue skies and a scorching sun. We had packed a picnic and snacks, loaded the van with family, and headed into DC. First stop – changing the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We were quite a large group, including my toddler son in the stroller and my strong-willed preschool daughter tagging along with the adults. Determined to exercise her independence, she fought holding onto an adult hand and would try to wander away from us in the large crowd. I found myself growing impatient with her antics. Finally, I was forced to take disciplinary actions to remind her of the need for safety.
As we transitioned from one area to the next, the crowds dispersed, and I allowed her more freedom. But the battle began when we approached the large groups at the following site. At first, she complied with the expectations by taking my hand and walking with me to the area of President Kennedy’s eternal flame. She had questions and remained quiet and respectful at the gravesite. As the heat increased and the crowds shuffled towards a path to the exit, our hands became sweaty. Before I knew it, we were disconnected.
My heart began to race, until I realized the downhill path gave me a perfect vantage point to watch my daughter wander in the crowd. At first, she appeared to enjoy her independence. Then, she ran toward the pool of water to look at her reflection. However, it was only moments before she realized she was surrounded by a sea of strange legs, and a look of panic emerged as she scanned the masses for a familiar face. I expected her to cry out for Mommy, but instead, she appeared utterly disoriented and darted erratically through the crowd. Her goal was to find an open area.
I genuinely believe in the power of natural consequences. Thus I allowed my daughter to experience this feeling of disorientation, fear, and separation for a few minutes before I called her name. The first time she didn’t hear it. The second time she heard me and was frantically trying to find me. Finally, the third time she heard me, she saw me and ran into my arms, crying, “I was lost, Mommy, it scared me!”
Sometimes I wonder if this is what I look like to my heavenly Father. Do I fight connecting with His guidance and wander aimlessly and disoriented in the shuffle of the day’s events and demands? Is He calling my name, and I can’t hear Him above the noise of the crowd? Luke 15:4-6 reminds me that Jesus cares for me like the shepherd and will continue to seek me, the single lost disoriented sheep. When He finds me, He leads me safely back into His care. If He cares this much for me, even more than I love and care for my daughter, what can I do differently to orient myself toward His will?
What distractions disorient you and drown out your Savior’s voice?
Forgive me for my rebellious heart, for trying to do things on my own, for falling prey to the world’s demands and getting lost in the shuffle of the crowd. Do you watch me, Lord, as I wander erratically like a disoriented child? Help me to hear Your voice the first time, focus on Your face and follow Your path. I know you desire better things for me than I can even imagine. Thank you for being patient with me. Amen
|As always, I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve! How can I pray for you?