I have lots of plans. Some are even well designed. Large amounts of hope and passion are regularly invested in them. I even go to the trouble of putting them on God’s radar, just so he can adjust his own machinations accordingly. Then, almost daily, he disregards all my well thought out intentions and takes me somewhere else. My internet goes down. My alarm goes off two hours early, and I can’t go back to sleep. I back into an unsuspecting car.
Why can’t he just realize I have it all figured out? Rarely does he have to do much on his end, if he’d just allow me to accomplish the reasonable expectations I set for myself and the world.
Okay, so maybe my track record of joy and peace when I actually do get what I want is somewhat suspect. That one girl I ‘needed’ to date eventually turned all 1976 Carrie on me. The video game I bought with gas money got old after five hours. The mushroom haircut pictures had to be burned.
But still, this time will be different. I know better. I’ve gotten smarter.
Yet if I’m honest, I get the reason Jesus used the sheep metaphor for his community so often. At first glance, sheep are cute, fluffy, and they look good on a hallmark card. However, if you know anything about farm animals, being compared to a sheep isn’t a resounding compliment.
And I imagine a flock doesn’t always understand why the shepherd acts like he does. ‘Doesn’t the guy with the stick understand I’m still eating?’ ‘I’d really prefer not to make this five mile hike now.’ ‘Why is he so obsessed with getting us back behind the wooden fence at night? It’s really nice out here.’
They don’t realize the need for fresh pasture, or moderation, or protection from the coming storm. Their perspective is limited to what’s right in front of them. The shepherd has a much bigger picture in mind than merely their present appetites.
If there really is a God up there, it stands to reason he might have a bit larger of a perspective than myself. If my life plan is designed within a five year window, his looks all the way into eternity. So yeah, I may be an ornery sheep at times, but I keep following…with the ever present hope he stops messing with my alarm clock.