Wednesday, June 29, 2011
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I had been scheduled to speak at a winter retreat in Pennsylvania, and I lived in New Jersey. It was the kind of thing where I could drive to it. Well, that day, winter decided that it was time to do some serious wintering. We had heavy snow all day long and I knew this was going to be a very exciting drive along Interstate 80 on out to Pennsylvania.
Actually, it turned out to be much easier than I expected. Much of the way I managed to get behind the snow plows. They were out, and they were doing a good job, and it was a whole lot easier because I was behind them. Where I was driving, the plows had already been. Now, if you have a snow plow ahead of you, you're a lot less likely to end up in a ditch.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Snow Plow You're Following."
Our word for today from the Word of God is in John 10, and I'm going to begin reading at verse 3. It's that great Good Shepherd passage. It says, "He calls His own sheep by name and He leads them out. And when He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them." Oh, I love that!
These verses took on a very personal meaning for my wife and me some years ago. We were getting ready to leave the city of Chicago, where we had lived for many years, and we were going to move to northern New Jersey to begin a ministry in the New York area. And we were stepping into a total unknown. We had no office, no supporters, we had nobody that we knew, no friends, no kids to work with, and no staff. Other than that, everything was all set up. Well, in Chicago, I knew people, I knew how to get things done, I knew what number to call, I knew where the resources were, I knew where all the roads were. New Jersey, New York—a total unknown.
And then, as we asked the Lord for some reassurance, He gave us John 10:4. I like that because you know, the truckers say that on a CB before they sign off; everything's under control. You know, "10-4 good buddy." Well, this is the "10-4 good buddy" verse. It says, "When He brings out all His sheep, He goes on ahead of them." We learned that the Shepherd always goes where he is going to take his sheep. He gets there before you do.
The Shepherd also makes sure that there's going to be food there, no wolves, no danger of walking off the edge. Kind of like that snow plow I was following, plowing the path in front of me. He makes it a lot safer.
And when we got there, boy did we find that out! The apartment we needed, the friends we needed, the office we needed, the open arms that we needed. Everywhere we went we found the footsteps of the Shepherd. And so will you. He promised.
Anywhere Jesus takes you, He will always get there ahead of you and get it ready. It may be that fear is holding you back right now from God's next step for you. Fear of the "mights" and the "coulds" and the "what ifs." Maybe you can't go any farther in Christ without taking some risks; trying some things you've never tried, or leaving some things you've never done without, going into situations that are unfamiliar to you, or reaching some people whose reactions you can't be sure of. Maybe you're in a transition time and you're about to move from one stage to another.
There's a wonderful answer to the fear that spreads that shadow on your future, and it's in this verse, "...the Shepherd goes ahead of you." How often I've claimed that verse in big things and even little things. I've gone into offices and found the Lord had gotten there ahead of me, into meetings, taxi cabs, doctor's offices, ministry situations. You can count on it.
The Lord will never lead you anywhere that He has not first scouted and prepared for you. The snow plow clears the road ahead of you, and so does the Shepherd. And because He does, you'll never end up stuck.