Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The King Of Love My Shepherd Is"1 (Lyrics)
Ezekiel 34:12a – As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. (NIV 2011)
Before Christmas, my husband and I were in England when the big news was the rail strike. England enjoys a complex network of both surface and underground trains. They interconnect like a giant spider web: a maze of tunnels, escalators, stations, and shops. Each line is allotted a different colour. The infrastructure is old, and passengers have increased by seven million over the past decade. Renovations and new building are ongoing. We were impressed with the driverless airport shuttle and the space-age toilets aboard the Liverpool train. We were amused to note that on the escalators, passengers stay politely to the right — though they drive on the left! This keeps foot traffic moving smoothly by allowing others to pass on the left.
Used to a slower pace of life in a small town, we were bewildered by the crowds, unfamiliar signs, and the variety of accents of those making announcements. On our last morning, after a prayer for protection and blessing, and armed with a map, we navigated our way from my brother's home north of London to Gatwick airport in the south. At that early hour, the train was empty, but as we approached the inner city, it rapidly filled with commuters.
When we changed trains, we were suddenly faced with a steep staircase and a dilemma. We both pulled a heavy suitcase and carried a backpack. I couldn't carry my case up the steps, and my husband couldn't carry them both without toppling back. If he took just his own, he would have to leave it untended at the top while he returned for mine. We hesitated while the crowds milled around us.
Suddenly, a young man reached between us and scooped up my case with no effort. He galloped up the steps as we stumbled behind trying to keep pace. Depositing my case cheerfully at the top, he melted into the crowd.
Genesis 24:40a – The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success. (NIV 2011)
Swept along, we emerged from the bowels of the earth into King's Cross station. If we were taken aback by the teeming crowds below, it was sheer bedlam above. The system is incredibly efficient if it keeps moving. But during a union strike, the platforms quickly become engorged. As one train after another was cancelled, and while disembodied voices apologized for the inconvenience, more passengers crammed onto the platform. I anxiously watched as many stepped across the yellow safety line, in danger of being pushed onto the rails.
Proverbs 4:12 – When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. (NIV 2011)
Finally headed to the airport, the "express" stopped and started for no reason we could fathom. Passengers acknowledged that they could miss their plane. Four hours after we had left my brother's home for an hour's journey, we hurried through the gate, just as our plane was boarding!
We still faced a 7-hour plane ride, and, due to a snowstorm on arrival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, another seven hours on the highway. Yet we felt God's hand of protection on us throughout our entire journey. God promises to be always with us. If you're heading somewhere today, faced with an ordeal of a journey, I encourage you to commit your plans to God and place yourself in His capable hands.
Prayer: Father God, we live in a fast-paced, often dangerous world. But You are the Good Shepherd Who takes care of Your sheep, no matter where we are. We put ourselves in Your hands and claim Your promises. Thank You for always being with us. Amen.