Each new year, I try to choose a theme to reflect on for the coming year. In 2009, it was “the fear of the Lord.” In 2010, it was “God is Light.” I am always amazed at how much comes up during the year when focusing on a theme like this and how every time it comes up, I see something from a different angle.
Until this week, I hadn’t finalized my theme for 2011, though I had considered a “Shepherd” theme. In early December, I was praying through Psalm 23 one morning and read John 10:7-18 about Jesus being our good Shepherd. The good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep, knows His sheep and they know Him, and knows His Father. There is One Shepherd, and His sheep hear His voice.
On December 26, I wrote in my journal that I was considering this “Shepherd” theme for 2011. I read I Peter 2:25 and Ezekial 34 and thought about God as the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.
Well, the year got started and I had not formalized anything more on my theme, sort of jumping right into the new year. But my heart this week had been very restless and unsettled. I needed peace. I needed my mind to be calm and controlled by the Spirit. I went to work Wednesday, feeling tired and needy. I asked the Lord to give me a Word from Him because of my restlessness.
I went to chapel (at the school where I work) for the first time in a while. The chaplain to my surprise spoke on Psalm 23. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
I loved those words of refreshment, restoration, reminding me of the confidence I have in Him that He is worthy of all my trust. He leads me in the right path. I have no need with Him.
I felt led to read Psalm 100 before I left the sanctuary. I did not remember that it also speaks of our Shepherd: “Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
Finally, I ended in Ecclesiastes 12:11-14, finding that the words of the wise are given by one Shepherd. I am to fear God and keep His commands.
I’m so thankful for our faithful God who reveals Himself to us through His Word. I now have my theme firmly in place for 2011: the Lord is my Shepherd. I’m looking forward to seeing more how He leads and guides this sheep in the coming year!