Psalm 23:1-3 – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (NIV)
Today, I am remembering back to last March when I was sitting in a lovely little room in California watching the film, Fly Away Home. My companion was a dear little lady, sharp as a whip mentally, but unable to walk very far. Having roots in the Maritimes, she remembered watching the Canada geese fly in formation overhead. Now here we were, watching the movie amazed, as the geese, having become imprinted at birth on a little girl, followed her south as she flew an engine-propelled ultralight ahead of them. The photography is absolutely beautiful in that film, but what grabs the heart is the way the birds absolutely trusted her to lead them each evening to safe pasture.
The similarities to Psalm 23 are endless, and the question arises in my soul, am I imprinted on the Lord Jesus, my shepherd? Do I absolutely trust him to lead me safely each day? Do I unfailingly trust Christ to provide a safe resting place each night and to finally lead me "south" to heavenly pastures? Canadians flock south in droves, but how many are imprinted on the Lord Jesus, following his leading, taking their place in the "V" shape of procedural flying, with Jesus bucking the winds of change?
My friend meanwhile has had a stroke and has had to leave that retirement residence and live with her daughter and son-in-law. It is a transition time! Transitions are painful times of change, but with the Lord's faithful leading they are times of great growth in faith. This is true for many of us today, and perhaps it is true for you too as you read this. Marriage, retirement, a new job or loss of a job, physical dependence or health challenges, going into hospital, moving to a new house, even a holiday trip, all represent change, and our hearts are fearful.
With my friend now there is less independence and more dependence on the "V" formation that family offers. Be of good cheer! We know that in trusting Jesus each transition becomes a growth in faith time. With Jesus ahead of us in the lead position we safely reach each night's resting place. Imprinted on Christ, we are led even when all is in a state of change and flux. Indeed the change is the reason we learn to trust Jesus even more.
Prayer: Lead us, Lord, not as we want but as you will. May it for ever be so. Lead us in paths of righteousness: to green pastures, to heavenly heights of great possibilities, to the loving arms of family, to our heavenly home. With you leading our flight formation we shall not want for anything, until that day when we will sit with you at a table laden and wonderful. Now, Lord, even as all the fearful enemies of our imagination press in, none shall overthrow our determination to Fly Home with you! Jesus, thank you for leading us all the way through. Amen.