This morning during the singing time at church I found myself not really paying attention to the music, but instead glancing around and checking out the faces of those that surrounded me. Our church is fairly big so there are several people that I don't know. Occasionally I like to just scope out the room and see what's what. That's when it happened...
I'm glancing to the front of the church, I see a young couple that look so down and sad. They've just lost a baby. I look to my right and see another young guy rubbing his downcast eyes - they want to start a family but haven't been able to. The woman in front of me is starring at the floor. Her husband died a few months ago...and I can't imagine what her life is like now raising a 7 year old, alone. To my left a woman is crying and because I dont' know her I don't know why. Then it just hit me - WE ARE A HURTING PEOPLE. Everyone hurts. We are a sad, confused, hurting bunch in need of a savior. Even those of us that claim Christ as our savior aren't exempt from pain. While I know that personally, it was just odd for that to hit me in the middle of a worship time at my church. I'm so weird.
After the singing time we sit down and on the screen ahead of us appears todays sermon title - "The Good Shepherd: Our Caregiver". I was amazed at God's perfect timing as it seems so many in this building this morning needed to know they were cared for so intimately. God is so good like that. My mind swirled back to the all of the faces I had observed and I whispered prayers for each of them. Pastor's message was a good reminder of our precious Savior's love for us - He is our shepherd, but not just any ol' caretaker...a "Good" caretaker, a "good" shepherd. He had three points that I hope to take to heart today. (from John 10:11-18)
~ Jesus Loves his sheep "to Death"
~ Jesus knows (intimately) his sheep "inside and out"
~ Jesus lives for his sheep proving that he loves and knows them.
What an amazing and profound thought that God loves us. Sounds so simple, but it really is complex, at least to me. How could someone so perfect love such a person as I? I'm thankful for my Salvation and His grace. I'm thankful that the hurting, the wounded and those who feel far from the Lord ARE LOVED and are cared for. I'm thankful that God's arms are big enough to hold us all... and that the Shepherd loves, knows and lives for His sheep!