Our Good Good Shepherd

written by Debbie Milton

When I was twelve years old, I attended the funeral for my 5-year-old cousin, Ronda, who had died of cancer. Our family gathered in a small room with windows along the back wall, the same wall where Ronda’s tiny casket had been placed. I remember sitting in the third row, weeping deeply, for I loved her, and my heart was broken.

As difficult as that time was, it did not compare with the loss of both parents just three weeks apart last spring. I did not weep, though, because I knew they were with Christ. I had a living hope that this separation was only temporary, and I would see them again (I Thess. 4:13-18). I claimed many promises from Scripture to sustain me, but I still sorrowed because my heart was broken.

And I let the sorrow overtake me. I fell deeper and deeper into a grief that I could not overcome. While I appeared peaceful on the outside, my inner turmoil was staggering. I never doubted or accused God, but I could not escape the overwhelming reality of life without my parents. My hardest times were when I was driving in the car alone. I could not be comforted (Psalm 77:2b).

Yet, God knew my sorrow (Exodus 3:7b), and I begged my God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) for release, but it did not come immediately…

not until He showed me that I was a cast sheep, and that Christ is my Good Shepherd.

A cast sheep, heavy with the weight of winter wool, pregnancy, or overeating, is one that has lost balance and fallen and is unable to right itself. It is vulnerable to predators and may die within hours. The shepherd sets out in earnest search to find such a sheep, to set it upright, to massage its legs to bring back the circulation, and sometimes to gently cradle its face in his hands to give reassurance that all is well again. Eventually, the sheep regains strength and courage and runs off…free!

I was that cast sheep.

I had fallen from the weight of the burden of loss that I had been carrying. I could not find my balance.

But my Shepherd was seeking me, ready to set me aright, to massage the truth of His Word into my heart, to cradle my face in His hands, to reassure me that these steps were part of His ordered plan, and that I would not be utterly cast down (Psalm 37:23-24).

When I saw my grieving face in His loving hands, the burden was gone!

Like the shepherd of Psalm 23, Jesus restored my soul, and the overwhelming grief has not returned.

I am free!

If there is a heavy burden of grief that you carry today, know the certainty that your Good Shepherd is touched with the feelings of your infirmity (Hebrews 4:15). He will carry your sorrow (Isaiah 53:11). He will restore your soul.

Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

O yes, He cares—I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
The long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Frank E. Graeff, Does Jesus Care?

If He loved us when we were unlovely (Romans 5:8), will He not love us still in our hour of sorrow?

Surely, He will!

Come join us!

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About Friendship Baptist Church

Our purpose is to make much of our Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel through the preaching of His Word and the making of disciples. At Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) we teach the Bible in order to facilitate spiritual growth in all of God’s people and to provide opportunities for Christian fellowship. God has graciously used Friendship to further His work both locally and across the globe since 1965.