Friday, November 30, 2012

Who Needs A Shepherd When The Green Grass Is High?

West Dallas Sheep Grazing on My Block
Photo Credit: Mark Grace

"I know you are blessed and highly favored, my friend." 

That phrase has been coming back to me with surprising frequency lately.  I was shocked the first time I heard it.  That kind of language is not part of my religious vocabulary.  I don't have any disagreement with it, I just am not very familiar with the turn of phrase.

As a matter of fact I've been feeling a little uncomfortable.  Me?  Highly favored?  That smacks of some sort of night-time deal that God struck with me, to give me a little bit more than others have.

Kind of like being the teacher's pet.


Then it came again, then a third time, and a fourth.  I began to wonder what it was that people were seeing in me that made them think I stumbled into a bargain basement deal on God's blessings.

"Maybe they just see you happy and content," a good friend of mine stated in a matter-of-fact tone.  "You make it sound like a bad thing, but I don't hear people whispering about all your good fortune.  It may just be their way of being happy with and for you."

Well, you bet.  I can get on board with happy and content.  In fact there are few times in my life when I have felt as much joy and gratitude as I have now.  

While life hasn't been easy and we have our share of sorrow and heartache, I feel a great deal of peace about where we are, and a tremendous sense of God's compassionate presence in our lives.


I don't think these experiences are just for me.  I don't even think these feeling have much to do with my current circumstances.  Having been a hospital chaplain for almost 30 years now, I've watched many people with their backs right up against the wall physically, medically, emotionally and relationship-wise who also have displayed a profound sense of peace and even rejoicing in the midst of tragic circumstances.

I know that a sense of the Great Shepherd's nearness and protection has very little to do with how green the grass may be.  The truth is, when the grass is greenest seems to be the time when the sheep are least aware of their Protector.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4
Well, maybe I am blessed and highly favored.  I am also reminded that Holy Scripture says to us that God is no respecter of persons and that God makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike.

So here is my weekend blessing for you:  May you find your blessing and God's absolute, utter delight in and favor upon you this weekend.  None of us deserve it, but I hear the storehouse is open and blessings are to be had in abundance for all who will receive them.


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