“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
Our first trip to the Middle East was a culture shock. Most of the passengers on Royal Jordanian Flight 264 were Middle Easterners. My husband and I were a minority on the airplane. Service announcements were bilingual, Arabic, and English.
As we navigated through Queen Alia International Airport customs, we were greeted by chaos and less-than-clean bathrooms. Once outside the airport, our missionary hosts picked us up, and we headed to their home in Marj al Hamam. It was on the south side of Amman, Jordan.
It was apparent that I was in a different world from the cozy America I had left twelve hours before. The climate was hot, the air dry and dusty, the landscape flat and boring.
But what surprised me most during the car ride was the sheep. They meandered right along the side of the highway! No fences or barricades kept them from walking onto the road. I wondered what kind of place this was that I had committed to living and ministering in. Never had I been to a place where sheep freely roamed along the edge of a major highway. I felt like I was transported to a different planet.
Later, I learned that the sheep that seemed to be wandering aimlessly were within voice range of their shepherd. I hadn’t seen a shepherd, but one was surely close by. He watched his sheep, ensuring they did not venture onto the road.
Since the day of my first arrival in the Middle East, I have seen many flocks of sheep. Each time, I noticed the shepherd walking among the sheep, talking to them, watching them, directing them. If the shepherd was not in the middle of the sheep, he was close enough for them to hear his voice. They were never alone.
In the Bible, God is described as the Good Shepherd, and His followers as sheep. The Good Shepherd develops a close relationship with His sheep, which causes them to know they are safe.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27, KJV). Just as sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd, God wants us to know the sound of His voice.
Throughout life, we will walk through dark valleys and climb high mountains. There will be happy times, sad times, successes and failures, and ups and downs. Knowing that we do not have to walk through life alone is such a comfort! Our Shepherd is with us. God said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5, KJV). All we have to do is stay close to Him. When we do, we can rest assured that He will guide, provide, and protect us.
Prayer: Jesus, I am so glad You are my Good Shepherd. You care about me and protect me. You know me better than anyone and have my best interests at heart. I want to stay close to You so I can always hear Your voice. I belong to You. I am not alone. Thank you for reminding me of your love for me.