DECEMBER 29

Thaleia Sawatzky

Many people at church think that I have it all together, and so they are often ashamed or scared to come and meet with me. When I ask why, they say that they look at the surface of my life—pastor at Northview, trained counsellor, married with young adult kids—and think that I can’t possibly relate to their fears, anxieties, hurts, frustration, relationship struggles, faith questions, and so on. I think people often forget that I am one of the sheep, just like they are one of the sheep.

Ezekiel 34 outlines the problems faced by the sheep when they do not have good Shepherds. In this passage, God is rebuking the Shepherds (leaders) of Israel for not doing their jobs. The sheep (people of Israel) are weak, sick, injured, going astray, and vulnerable to predators. They need a Good Shepherd. And so God reveals His promise to provide the Good Shepherd, Jesus, who will always give the best care for His sheep. This is great news for all of us fellow strugglers, fellow “sheep.”

These are just a few of the many reasons why it is good news to have Jesus as our Good Shepherd. Can you think of any others?

  • Jesus knows His sheep (John 10:14, Psalm 139) and cares about every detail of our lives
  • Jesus pursues His sheep. He seeks them out and brings back the straying and the lost (Ezekiel 34:16)
  • Jesus heals the injured and strengthens the weak (Ezekiel 34:16)
  • Jesus, our Good Shepherd, leads us (guidance) and restores our souls (the best counselling ever!) (Psalm 23)

Like you, I need to depend on the Good Shepherd daily. One way I do this is by talking with God honestly and specifically about all my issues and challenges (1 Samuel 1:15). An earthly pastor, counsellor, family member, or friend is only available now and then, but our Good Shepherd is available 24/7. You can talk to Him as you drive, or walk, or in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep. You can talk to Him in the quiet of your mind, out loud, or on paper. You can talk to Him alone, or with someone you trust.

If Jesus the Good Shepherd is a new thought for you, or if the idea of speaking honestly with God in prayer is new for you, I am very willing to talk in more detail. You can reach me at [email protected]