When I am afraid, he says "fear not" and "I am with you." When I say "I cannot do it" he tells me "try, I will help you." Many times he reminds of the beauty he created, both inner and outer, when I was woven together in my mother's womb. He tells me that he has good plans for my life, though he does not promise a pain-free life without suffering or loss. He does promise that one day he will wipe every tear from my eyes, and he demonstrates that he values my tears so much that he stores them in a bottle. Especially in my childhood and youth, tears were frequent, even for small things, so I figure that bottle is probably holding quite a large volume by now.
Thinking of Christ as the Good Shepherd has always been a way to find a sense of peace for me. I picture myself in his arms, being carried, or I relax beside the peaceful stream, knowing I am cared for and watched over. My professor in university made a good point that sometimes we think of all the things we should or must do for the kingdom of God, but sometimes we just have to "be." To be God's child, to be his beloved, to be the lamb of the Good Shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for the sheep. On a day like today, when we remember the high cost of our redemption, the stripes which bring our healing, and the love that kept Jesus on the cross through the agony of being separated from his Father and the excruciating physical pain as he struggled for each breath, we should realise that we can trust him in this time and moment as well whatever we may face. On the cross, Christ was not a victim, but a victor who has bought us back from the kingdom of darkness, and proclaimed our release and freedom from bondage. When he rose again on the third day, he gave those from whom he died a new resurrected life, and his victory over death and hell became gloriously real and tangible. On Good Friday, we remember that Easter is coming!