When I was a new sheep in your pin, I relished my new place. As you came near to me, your ways were contrary to my sinful ways so I fled from you. Although I was yours, I did not know you well and your ways prevented me from going my own way. You allowed me to wander. You kept a close eye on me always walking behind me. You saw all that I did and where I had gone. I wandered down dangerous paths and near cliff edges until the day I wandered too close. I wandered closely to a thorn bush it ensnared me with its thorns. I could not get loose. The more I struggled to free myself the more entangled my fleece became. I was stuck. I was helpless and I could not free myself from my inequities. I called out to you. My God, My God save me! Help me! Free me from what ensnares me! There you were, right behind me as you always had been. I had not seen you through my wandering but you were there. You laid your hand upon me and told me, “be still, know that I am your God. Do not struggle any longer.” As I stayed still, you patiently and gently freed me from the thorns. I drew close to you never afraid of your ways because I knew you loved me and your ways protected me. I turned from that place and I walked with you back to the flock. I had your peace knowing I was going your way. I was in your flock and I could rest in your presence.
Even though I have taken up your ways, occasionally I lose track of you. I will have had my head down busily working away at what was in front me and I begin to stray. In your mercy and grace, you throw the rod in front of me. Your warning of the path I am on. I quickly pick my head up and see your face and turn the other way. You are always watching me and I am always in your care. I look back from a distance at that thorn bush that had ensnared me, and I am thankful. It is now a place of repentance and deliverance. It is a place where I met you face to face and I began to know you.
When we are first brought into Christ’s flock it is a joyous time. We are thrilled to be there and have a new home and a new way, but as the shepherd draws close to us we begin to rebel. His ways conflict with our fleshly ways and our desires to do it our own way. During this time, many of us flee for a time. We run away from him because we want to do what we want to do. We do not understand why we must follow him in his exact ways. He allows us to wander. He is ever present during our wandering time but we have no recollection of him. He allows us to make foolish choices and walk dangerously close to edges but at all times He is there because nothing is done outside of his presence. He is walking behind us. It is when we come to a situation in life we cannot rescue ourselves from and we have become helpless that our heads and our hearts finally are opened. We see where our actions have led us. He is there to calm and to free us. In that rescue is where we go from knowing that he our new master to seeing him face to face. We are prodigal sons returning.
Even though we are following him and attentive to his voice, we are not immune to becoming too busy with this world and lose track of him. He gives us warnings with his rod of discipline and it is in our best interest to pick our heads up and turn the other way to meet with him.