Are You Afraid?
It was the age of the Untouchables. The Chicago mafia was televised right into our living room in front of my young eyes. It didn’t help we actually lived in the Windy City. I had nightmares of drive-by shootings where my family and I hid under furniture to escape the bullets. My imagination grew to its wildest state every time my father left for work. It was just mom and me those days. I was the baby, the caboose, and a frightened little sheep. My dad’s work schedule changed every month, and I dreaded the night shift! It meant Mom and I would be sleeping in that dark house all alone.
My dad knew me. He understood my fears and spoke words of assurance. He’d take my hand and walk me through the house before he’d leave for work. I would follow him upstairs where a dormer addition held two extra bedrooms and bath. He’d open closet doors, look under beds and shine a light on all the dark corners. Then he’d lead me to the basement that housed a monster-like furnace with arms that reached into the rooms above its ugly head. Its mouth breathed fire in the winter months, and the noises the creature made normally sent me scrambling up the stairs two at a time. But not when Daddy held my hand. I felt safe as long as he was with me. After walking me through all three levels of our tiny bungalow, his presence assured me all was well. That we would be safe until he returned.
Just like the Good Shepherd takes care of His sheep, my earthly father took care of me. The only difference is that my dad was limited. He could only be one place at a time. If he was busy at work, he couldn’t be with me. But the Good Shepherd never left my side.
The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
Psalm 121 excerpts
He will not let your foot slip; he who watches over you will not slumber. The Lord watches over you; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm; he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 91 excerpts
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day…If you make the Most High your dwelling, then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
Questions to Consider:
1. Why did the Jews not believe in Jesus?
2. How will true sheep respond to their Shepherd?
3. What promises belong to the sheep who believe?
4. Which phrases in Psalm 121 remind you of your Shepherd’s protection?
5. What assurance does Psalm 91 bring to you today? Which of these verses would be helpful to memorize?
The Bible assures us that the Good Shepherd watches over our going out and coming in. I think of that verse every time I back out of our garage.
Meditate on these truths:
- The Lord goes before us wherever we go. (Isaiah 52:12)
- He protects us from behind us as our rear guard. (Isaiah 52:12)
- He stands by our side to strengthen us. (Psalm 109:31)
- His everlasting arms are underneath us to lift us above difficult circumstances. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
- He is above us as He covers us with his wings and his righteous right hand. (Psalm 91:4)
- The Lord surrounds us like the mountains surround Jerusalem. (Psalm 125:2)
That means He’s above, beneath, before, behind, left, right, and all around. Whenever you’re afraid, look to the Good Shepherd. He’s with you on all sides. All the time. Who could ask for more!