Another Shepherd story…

I read more about the sheep and shepherd’s relationship today, and I just love the correlation with me & the Lord. Today I learned that the shepherd goes before the sheep and prepares the trail. The trail may be rocky and difficult, but the sheep follow the shepherd anyway. And the shepherd always leads them to a grassy pasture to rest. What a beautiful imagery!

This week has been a rocky trail for our family. For a few days we had no idea what was around the next bend. But I know that things do not “just happen.” God is sovereign, and He does what He wants when He wants with whom He wants, and He doesn’t need our permission. We can make our plans, but He determines our steps. I shared with you yesterday that I planned to take a couple of classes. But God determined my steps otherwise, and I trust Him with that. The fact that Leon “Poppy” Houchins fell and broke his foot, and because of that he was here in Spartanburg where his two children, Clayton & Deborah live when his intestines obstructed was nothing more or less than God-ordained. The hospital is less than 10 minutes from our home, actually only 6 if the traffic lights cooperate. We’ve been able to care for him and Grandma Ellen. Both Clay & Deb have been honored to care for their parents. If Poppy had been in his hometown of Daniels, WV when this happened, imagine the difference that would have made. I don’t even want to think about how that would’ve played out! And the professional care that we’ve received has been astounding. We believe every nurse has been God-appointed. They have cared for Poppy with such compassion and attentiveness, we stand amazed. And Dr. Orr, the surgeon? My goodness, we believe he’s taken Poppy on as a project. He literally saved Pop’s life, and the good Doc is delighted! (And so are we!) I can’t dare name all the caregivers who have been professional yet personable through this entire week. And as of this afternoon Poppy is in a regular room, out of intensive care. We believe firmly that our Shepherd went before us and prepared the trail. He planned this, and He has a specific purpose for it. We may never know all the details behind it, but we trust Him so we follow Him. And we know He’ll lead us to green pastures to rest. He won’t put more on us than we can bear.

Is the trail that has been prepared for you rocky? Are there more hills than level spots? Are the narrow curves too unnerving to approach alone? Do not get bitter or angry because of the trail the Shepherd has prepared for you. Follow Him. Allow Him to lead you, and you’ll get through it. He promises green pastures for rest. Those green pastures may not be in sight yet, but He’s never broken a promise.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul” (Ps. 23:2&3).

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

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