Even where evil is present, the pervasive presence of God is more powerful. There is nowhere the sheep can go where the shepherd does not go with them. The shepherd’s presence brings peace in the presence of evil.
How can we sing and believe the words “it is well with my soul” at times when it feels anything but? How can we walk through the “valley of the shadow” when it feels like another trial or loss might be the one that finally breaks us?
How often do we still make our God an easy god? We can manipulate the theology of calling and vocation to make it a rubber stamp on our ambitions. We can cheapen grace until the very concept of sin seems old-fashioned.
Like spring cleaning, the season of Lent helps us pause and take an honest look at our own lives. What needs to be cleaned out within us? What is distracting us from God? What is cluttering our lives?
In this passage, God isn't some far-off distant being orchestrating all of creation from afar. No; God is right there with us, suffering with us, holding us as we loosen our grip of “appearing ok,” and crying with us. This is compassion.
The joy this morning, in the wake of two decidedly different mission stories, is that He comes to us in his own ways, in his own time. Some believe in an instant, but some trek into a wilderness before he brings them on home.