I am very blessed in that I live in a beautiful part of the UK and look out on fields often filled with sheep. As I looked out recently, I noticed a clearly defined path shaped like the letter Y, and slowly some sheep began to emerge from behind a hill and walk along the length of the path, following neatly one behind the other. Others gradually joined them from the shorter path but instead of walking side by side they slotted into the first line till there must have been nearly two dozen sheep walking in single file along this path towards the gate where the shepherd would soon appear with their food.
It reminded me that Jesus talks about the gate to glory being a narrow one, and, as I grow older, the path towards it seems to become narrower. Rather than that being restrictive, it gives a sense of freedom, as things of the world become less important and our goal becomes more so. If we visualise Jesus standing as our Good Shepherd in the gateway – as the sheep I saw appeared to be doing – we have a definite goal to aim towards. He is there to welcome us.
No doubt there will be distractions and problems along the way as we have to deal with everyday life, and Jesus never promised that it would be easy, but we need to bring whatever it is to the Lord in prayer – matters of forgiveness, confession and repentance – and leave them at the cross. He will walk with us through the difficult times, sharing our burdens, and, when we’re yoked together with Him, our burden becomes lighter. So often we pray that Jesus will take our burdens, but we pick them up again ourselves! And we can know that we’re loved with an everlasting love, no matter how many times we stray from the path.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for that endless, merciful love and tender care You have for me, even when I don’t recognise it. Please forgive me when I stray from the narrow path, and help me to share my burdens with You, when I so often try to carry them myself. Please draw me close to You and guide me along the path. In Your precious name, Amen.
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