Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We CAN trust him

Sister Ann Shields, S.G.L., from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancing, Michigan, is an internationally noted speaker and author (including her book Deeper Conversion: Extraordinary Grace for Ordinary Times). For many years she has exercised a ministry of teaching in the Catholic charismatic renewal. (See the Renewal Ministries website) Back in the 1970's Sister Ann edited teaching sermons from the Church Fathers for modern Christians. She is currently the host of the daily radio program Food for the Journey. This article was written for New Covenant Magazine in 1984.

"Your heavenly Father knows all that you need" (Matt 6:33).

"I am the good shepherd. I know mine, and mine know me" (John 10:14).

I wonder if we really believe those verses from scripture. Do you daily know that God sees all your circumstances, your cares, your needs, and that he wants to provide for you? Take time to read Matthew 6:25-33 and Psalm 139.

Do you believe that your God is your shepherd, who knows his own personally and intimately? And that as a shepherd he is there to guard, to protect, to make provision for, to save from harm? Take time to read John 10:1-15.

So often when difficult circumstances arise we rush off to help ourselves and meet our own needs. We run from our Father, our shepherd, seeking to save ourselves. And in so doing we move from the only real source of help we have. And then we wonder why things don't work out.

Or we go to God in difficulty looking for help, but when we don't get immediate relief we decide that "God doesn't love me" or that "he doesn't care about this need" or, worse, that "God didn't answer, therefore God doesn't exist."

How foolish we can be! God knows what is best for us, and he knows that what is best often comes with time and patience and endurance. God wants us for himself. And whatever our circumstances may be he wants to use them to bring us nearer himself. We need to draw nearer to our Father in time of danger, for he knows all that we need.

Some years ago I spent several weeks in England. One afternoon we took a drive in the country. A sudden storm came up, so we pulled of the road to wait t out.

In the distance I saw a man standing by a huge rock. He had a large cloak on and a shepherd's crook in his hand. He was calling his sheep. They came, bells tinkling, from different parts of the field. The shepherd never moved in all that rain and lightening, but stood steady for his flock to gather round him.

That scene has been forever engraved on my memory. The shepherd didn't leave them. He didn't let them find refuge of their own. But neither did he take them out of the storm. Instead he bore the storm with them. He provided them with safety and security by his presence.

So God our Father, God our shepherd, desires to do for us. In time of crisis, in the midst of a storm, let us not try to save ourselves. Let us run quickly to the shelter of his arms, where we will find refuge and stay there until the storm passes by.

For God knows us, and he knows all our needs. He will provide in the midst of the storm. The fruit of such faith is peace and confidence in a God who cares.


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