As Christians, we have the benefit of 360 vision, to bring us through each and everyday. We have the past saints to look at for inspiration and understanding of how the Lord moves and weaves in an individual's life. We have the living and active Word of God today - that moves and interacts with us. Finally, we have the book of Revelation that gives us a glimpse of the reality of our future. So today, I would like to interact with this 360 vision to help us to see how God invites us to walk with Him into a life that lacks nothing.
James 1:2-4Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
17For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
These are all familiar Scripture passages, but for this post, I appreciated reflecting on the connections between them. We all love the imagery of Psalm 23: being led beside quiet waters, having our souls restored. Yet we don't always find ourselves in those situations. Sometimes we find ourselves faced with the valley of the shadow of death...Then we are confronted with James - "Consider it PURE JOY, whenever you face trials of many kinds..."
This is where the 360 vision comes in handy (you can start from any spot) but for this post we will start at Revelation 9. See the Lamb, seated on the throne and what does He promise to be for us - our Shepherd. We are reminded in this very picture, that He, himself, the Lamb, walked through a very dark valley of death to get to His throne. We see His promise to us is to Shepherd us and one day to wipe every tear from our eyes. We get to step into life with Him, from this place of trust knowing that He sees, He knows, He understands and He offers to come along with us.
From this vantage point we can pan back to present day: consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds... It develops perseverance/ patience and you will NOT lack anything...
Pan over to Psalm 23 - the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...
Do you see the circle? Do you see the benefits we receive from our current position?
The Message ends Psalm 23 with this:
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
So my brothers and sisters in Christ - consider it pure joy - no matter what you are going through, because the Lord is your Shepherd. He is walking beside you, leading you and guiding you with love and beauty. Sometimes by streams of water and sometimes He is walking with us through a valley, a shadow, a place of trial and uncertainty. The path may be unclear to you - but the end destination is clear and sure. There will be a day when He will wipe every tear from your eyes.
You are not alone and you were never asked to go through this life alone. Lean on your Good Shepherd today - the Lamb of God who alone is worthy.
Photo courtesy Melanie Guest Photography