"Some days he will lead me besides still waters. Other days he will lead me to lush fields. And still others, he will lead me on the narrow, muddy path that connects them. Through it all, God is always the Good Shepherd." (Margaret Feinberg - Scouting the Divine)
I read this and thought, 'perhaps that's where I am now' - in the "in-between".
There are times where I don't see the still waters and where I can't remember the lush fields and all I know is the narrow, muddy path... Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you're there too.
What God is showing me at the moment is that I just need to keep my eyes on my 'Good Shepherd'. I need to trust that he will lead me where I need to go.
When I fix my eyes on Jesus, my Shepherd, I know everything will be okay. He promises to 'never leave nor forsake' me. In the Bible, Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd - that his people, his sheep, know him and his voice and will follow when he calls. He promises that as the Good Shepherd, he lays his life down for his sheep and that he came to give life in all it's fullness (John 10). That sounds like lush fields to me.
There is an enemy, however, who wants to steal, kill and destroy that life. When we focus on the narrow, muddy path - or our lack or hard circumstances - instead of Jesus, we can think that our Shepherd is lying or is anything but good. If I focus on the path, all I see is what I lack and can start to feel afraid. I can be tempted to stray off the narrow way and try to find my own 'pastures'. More often than not, this just leads to frustration or ending up in trouble.
Matthew 6.33 (MSG) tells me, "Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find your every day human concerns will be met."
I am reminded that focus is important - not just what I am focusing on but Who: "Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever..." (Heb 12.2-3 MSG).
So today, although it feels like this narrow, muddy path will never end, I lift my eyes, fixing my eyes on the Good Shepherd, trusting the One who leads me.