“…they follow me” John 10:27
Many years ago I took my eldest son to the Canadian National Exhibition. For my overseas readers the CNE is an annual carnival and exhibition of many products. It seems you can see and buy products from various countries, and go on many rides designed to scare you and thrill you all at once.
This is where I got the title for this devotional. My son might have been about 5-6 years old. He wanted to go on a roller coaster that was a miniature train and took the passengers up and down the track at fast speeds and around bends so fast it took away your breath.
The ride began with a slow climb up a long steep hill. Then you would race down the other side and speed around the track.
It must have taken 45-60 seconds to slowly climb up the long hill before the terrifying ride began. As we ascended the first part of the ride, the higher we got the more my son clung to me.
Just as we reached the top to begin our frightening run, my son said to me, “I don’t think I am going to like this.” That was an understatement. Both of us were properly frightened and screamed along with the rest of the riders.
Isn’t it interesting that so many of us at such amusement parks will spend money to go on a ride that is scary? Why pay to be frightened?
Isn’t life scary enough as it is? Why put even more stress on yourself? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact we know that the rides in parks are controlled fear. The passengers on the rides always get off safely in the end.
It is very different when the “ride of life” is what we experience. The things that we face in the real world are very different from the amusement parks. In real life we do not see happy results from the hills and curves on the road ahead of us. We know of people who have travelled the road we are on and the “ride” ended with suffering and pain. It did not end with laughter.
Our verse today speaks of Jesus’ sheep following Him. Now in the surrounding passage to our verse Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd. Jesus took a wonderful name for God and applied it to Himself. The 23rd Psalm speaks beautifully of Jehovah being the Shepherd of His people. In that Psalm and our passage in John 10 we read of the sheep willingly following the Shepherd.
Now if we know our Good Shepherd loves us and cares constantly for us we are encouraged to follow Him wherever He leads. Even when the journey becomes frightening or “scary” we can be calm as we are certain the Shepherd ahead of us will ensure our way is safe and will lead to our eternal home.
On the controlled ride in the amusement park the riders know that they are safe even when the ride is scary. Much more the follower of Jesus can be calm and feel safe as long as they follow Jesus. He will keep us even in the valley of the shadow of death Psalm 23:4. All the enemies in life become tamed tigers when Jesus is near. All our earthly enemies must stand aside as our Good Shepherd prepares a banqueting table before us. Psalm 23:5.
Are you following the Good Shepherd today? Do you walk in His way? Well, then, be confident all will be well in the end as He is God and controls all things for the best interests of His people. You are safe as long as you are in the presence of the all loving and all powerful Jesus.