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Seeds of the Kingdom

The Good Shepherd of the Salt Marshes

by Paul Lawrence

31 January 2013

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The Lord will protect you from all dangers; he will guard your life.
Psalm 121:7, NCV

I once lived on a salt marsh that had loads of sheep. The sheep loved the marshes. They enjoyed the salt grass, the wide open spaces and the freedom they had. They must have been in ‘sheep heaven’. However, every now and then, the shepherd would come and round the sheep up and take them into a surrounding field. The sheep hated it. First they were rounded up by the shepherd and the dog. Then they had to go into a small field with strange grass and less space and suddenly there was no freedom at all.

They must have thought what an awful shepherd he was to move them like this and keep them there. The noise of protests was loud. They couldn’t even see the marsh, because between them and the marsh was a very high, man-made, mud bank. What they didn’t know was the bank was there to protect them from the high tides that came in every so often. Had the shepherd not moved them they would all have drowned, but with the high bank there they never knew this was the reason. So they seemed to spend all their time muttering about the cruel shepherd.

After a few days the shepherd would open the gate and over the bank the sheep ran, on to the open marsh land. There was no sea in sight. So they never knew the danger. I guess if they could speak they would be asking the shepherd why they had to move to a place that was like a desert to them, where things were a lot worse than before, and why they had to suffer for that period. The shepherd would have laughed, knowing that it was for their own good and safety, and may have responded, “I will protect you from all dangers, I will guard your life” (Psalm 121:7).

Sometimes you can’t see the reason for your move, or why you’ve been put somewhere that seems like a desert. It may seem there’s a cloud in the way stopping you from seeing, but it could just be for your protection, at this time of your life. You may never know why but your Good Shepherd does.

Prayer: Father, I will trust You in this situation that You’ve put me in. I may not see the reason but I know You’re with me. Amen.

Paul Lawrence is the Centre Director at Ellel Grange, UK and is married to Anne, who is the Deputy Centre Director for the Grange. He has lived in Africa for over 20 years and China for 5 years. His passion is to see the Lord do bigger and greater things in peoples lives that they cannot do on their own, not just in healings but also in the fun things of life. His belief is that nothing is ever big enough and as a team we can achieve anything if the Lord is at the centre.


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