God’s attention to detail is one of the daily miracles that too many people miss. It is astounding! My favorite part of reflecting on the various moves of God in my life is meeting the Good Shepherd there.
As I begin to come out on the other side of my latest scuffle (Jennifer: 0, God: ∞), I see exactly where and how God poked me. In the course of wishing me a happy birthday, Martha encouraged me to do something that I enjoy. That was the first poke and a catalyst for my initial melt down. Within 24 hours, I was completely enraged by the fact that I couldn’t think of anything I actually enjoyed doing post-smoking. Ha! My Shepherd knew that I was ensnared, and He knew just what would set me flailing—so that I would take note of the cable wrapped around my heart, holding me in place.
The next day, John sent me a copy of his post (“Man’s Best Friend”), and I really fell apart. When I am at my worst and have failed spectacularly, the Good Shepherd reminds me of two things: His enormous love, and His great purpose. I badly needed both at exactly that moment. One of my favorite quotes by Martha is from a CD of the Month called “Not Shamed” (now part of Conquered by the Blood – phenomenal series). She says, “You have to be ashamed before you can be free of shame.” That’s the beginning of true repentance, being ashamed of who you really are. But you aren’t meant to stay there! Like the prodigal son, you should remember who your Father truly is.
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!
Luke 15:18 NLT
Starvation poked the prodigal and returned him “to his senses.” It reminded him of the loving provision shown by his Father to even the least of His servants. And he was ashamed of who he was.
I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.
Luke 15:18-19a NLT
John’s post reminded me that my life and my story has purpose. And like the sovereignty of God, that purpose covers all of it—including the massive failures. And I’ve found that it is precisely in these massive failures that His great Father-heart and Shepherd-love can be seen the clearest. I matter to Him. You matter to Him! We are completely known and loved. And when we’ve failed the hardest and are ashamed down to the core, He calls us home. He reminds us of just who He is and says, “I love you, come home!”
So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
Luke 15:20 NLT