In my last two posts I gave examples of what it looks like to live dependent on the Lord’s care in the practical. In this I showed that we’re mere stewards of our bodies and lives, not owners. We have to entrust ourselves to the care of our Shepherd, who is competent and loving but who does it His own way. This is difficult, as Pauline commented on I’ll Take Care of Myself, Awareness of Self, where I said: “One of the greatest tests about God’s Lordship is with our health.”
Comment about Care of Self and Others
Here’s Pauline’s full comment: “John, what about the common sense stuff like you swimming for your back pain (I think) or me going to the ER with difficulty breathing and high fever (turns out to be pneumonia)? Is He in the business of these, also? Not taking this post lightly, just wondering . . . Also, would this include taking care of others — would it be better to just give them over to our Shepherd and pray for/with them? Great post, just these couple of questions. Thank you, John. Blessings and big smiles!”
This is the frustration of stewardship versus owning. I am not an owner, but the Lord has given me the responsibility to live my life and care for myself and for those around me. (Ouch!) We are all cast upon the Lord our Shepherd in this, but only those who follow will do it in the Spirit.
My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
John 10:27-28a NLT
Following the Shepherd’s Care
Following is as natural as moving. It isn’t as if you have to have a prayer meeting every time you take a step – that would be torment. In our woundedness, we can accuse the Lord of tying heavy burdens upon us, to make us look rather than leap in every situation. But the reality is this is freedom not bondage. He isn’t looking to set us on the edge of a collapsing cliff just to say, “Trust Me!” Being in the Spirit allows us to lean in dependence rather than being strapped with the responsibility to care for ourselves. I have always said that it is abuse to strap a child with the weight of parenting self. This is the same. Dependence on the Lord is freedom, not unfair treatment.
Pauline asked, “What about commonsense care of self?” Since I think that she speaks for many of us, I’ll answer that question directly. Dependence doesn’t mean I don’t care for myself; it means I rely on the Lord’s directing of me. Think about Christ’s statement: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does (John 5:19 NLT). Was Jesus just talking about ministry to the people? No, I believe nothing means nothing. So my health and life is more about following than deciding what is best done.
In my next post I will use Pauline’s examples directly.