Lord, it’s so hard, it’s as if you save me into the flock and then ask me to put myself back in the thicket again. Lord, when it hurts so much and causes so much suffering, why when it all seems so sick before your very eyes, why ask me to stay in such a world which seems so broken and utterly despising of you?
Why? For the same reason I did. To seek and find the lost, the ‘one’ to keep adding to the ninety-nine. I want you to look around from the safety of the flock and look beyond yourself. But don’t see the one you used to be… instead see and hear the ones still crying in the wilderness, caught in brambles along the way waiting for the shepherd’s arms. Do not envy their time with me… I am forever yours; a saviour is one who saves and cannot become your un-saviour. I bowed my head in death to lift yours in life. I became the ‘one’. I took the pain and utter rejection by all, to find you, to extinguish the bonfires and turn the ash into beauty, your refinement too at times will feel as death but trust me, in dying you are rising with me.
My greatness reflects in my flock, wonderfully made in my image, loved, protected, free and alive, and yet so often I find you huddled, surviving the pressures, the days, fighting to be this or that never just being content and safe in the ninety-nine. Why do you fight against the restraints of love, which bind you in life, not death? I see you almost longing to be saved again, allowing the thicket to enclose you so that I may save you again… and yet you seem to forget how lonely and hurt you felt, how tired and bruised aching for me, crying out to be found- and when I heard your voice and I found you because I knew you. The ninety-nine are but a collection of saved ‘ones’. Those who are mine have the ear, the heart and touch of the Shepherd at any moment of any day…they do not need to run after my love and acceptance. My child see what lies within you, and that ‘I am’ the gate, it allows access not confinement. I am the ‘one’ your inner being longs for, once as saviour now as refiner.
Jesus, I long for your holiness to the point it aches; ‘Lord don’t save me if you are going to leave me in this filthy state’. I submit to your shepherding, be my guide, but moreover be my rest, my stillness in this battle for the many lost along the highway. Lord, avert my eyes from my ownness, unto you. Thank you for saving me and showing me the value of each sheep is as special as another, each life is as beautiful and perfect as you made them to be. Lord, dare I ask you to use me, in my state of restoration to follow you, to come and go with you and find the other lost ‘ones’ still crying in the night.
1 Asbury, Culver, Jackson, (2017) ‘Reckless Love’ © 2017 Bethel Music Publishing