shepherding the shepherd
How do we help our people who have been beaten and left half dead in the dust? At first, we listen. We don’t want to be like Job’s friends, so we let people grieve or storm, question or hide. But in God’s good time we are called to bandage their souls, pouring on oil and wine, and give them a safe place to recover.
When I was a kid in VBS we’d stand and pledge allegiance to the Bible. We also memorized this verse this way,
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Ps. 119:11 KJV)
I never forgot it. As children, that verse was assigned to us more as an admonition in hopes that one day it would become our testimony. And now it has.
The challenge is that love always faces frontiers, detours, and roadblocks. We don’t always know what loving well requires. How can one person love so many? How do we love the misfits, the irregulars? How do we love without getting swallowed up. Plus, we bring our own love-limiting baggage, which we might recognize but often do not.
I’d never thought of these words as though Paul wrote them to me personally, not only as part of a church but as a fellow pastor. When I did, I nearly wept. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…”(Phil. 1:3-5)