I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. – Jesus
If he’s the Good Shepherd, he knows us completely. I can do nothing to surprise him. When I cry out to my Good Shepherd, there is never a time where God looks at me and says, “Joe Chambers? Name sounds familiar. Gabriel, pull the file on Chambers and let’s see what his story is.”
He knows me and he calls me by name.
Do you know why the greatest force for changing me is my wife Lynette? It’s because she has seen me at my very worst. She has seen the darkness of my soul and when very nearly everyone had given up on me—she stepped towards me and said, “I’ve seen the real you. I’ve seen you at the bottom, and I know you are an idiot. But, by God’s grace, I will love you anyway.”
Have you ever known the glorious release of realizing your Shepherd knows you to the bottom and yet loves you to the skies?
Back in the nineties I served on the board of trustees for Lifeway Christian Resources. (Back then it was called The Baptist Sunday School Board.) I served there for several years and got to know the President, Dr. Jimmy Draper. He always remembered my name and asked me about my wife and boys.
Due to my sinful choices in 1999, I resigned my pastorate in Littleton and from the Board of Trustees. It was a dark time for all of us.
Over the last twenty years Lynette and I have worked hard on our relationship and have tried to help many ministry leaders along the way.
Last spring, I was invited to speak and minister to Church planters and their wives in the Pacific Northwest. Lynette and I both spoke to this gathering of leaders. The denominational paper for the Northwest Convention wrote an article about what we shared. It was very honoring.
About a month after we returned, I got a letter in the mail and inside the envelope was that article that had been torn out of the magazine and a handwritten letter was paper clipped to it. It was from Dr. Jimmy Draper.
Here is what it said,
Great word you gave to the church planters in the NW! Always proud of you and praying for you! God’s best blessings in 2019 to you and Lynette!
If my family, my wife, and a man I greatly admire are willing to see me at my worst and call me by name and step towards me in grace and love, how should I live every day knowing that my Shepherd calls me by name and I am in his hand, and I will never be in danger there—how shall I live for this Good Shepherd?
Here’s how: I live moment by moment in complete and intimate dependence on my Shepherd. Why? Because he is good and I am a sheep.
I am learning to rest in him, and I find myself singing, if not praying these words,
I need Thee every hour,
Most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like thine,
Can peace afford.
I need Thee, oh I need Thee
Every hour I need Thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee!