Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I was scheduled to speak at a winter retreat in Pennsylvania and I had to drive from New Jersey, and that day winter decided that it was time to do some serious wintering like heavy snow. And it just kept on coming. I knew this could be an exciting drive. Well, actually, it turned out to be much easier than I expected. I got out into this mess on Interstate 80 and I had really low visibility, I had blinding snow, and the road filling up quickly. Of course I was muttering, "Why couldn't they cancel this retreat? Then I thought of a better idea than complaining, like praying maybe? And wouldn't you know, that's when I saw the snowplow in front of me. Well, I got my little car right in behind Mr. Snowplow and I traveled on a clear road most of the way to the retreat! I just drove where the snowplow had already been! That way 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 "Safely Behind the Snowplow."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 10:3-4. These are very special verses for my wife and me. They're verses that first took on a very special meaning many years ago when we were stepping out from the known of being in ministry in Chicago, to the great unknowns of moving to the New York area. Again a few years ago, these verses came to life for me when the Lord led us into beginning this ministry that we're involved in now. Again, we were starting over, except it was much later in life. There was a lot more at stake this time. These are anchor verses for us.
Here is what it says in John 10:3-4. "The sheep listen to the Shepherd's voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice." I love those words, "He goes ahead of them." Like that snowplow on that dangerous night, going where you're about to go and clearing the way.
Our Shepherd, Jesus, always goes where He's about to take us, because we are His sheep. He gets there before you do, opening doors, preparing hearts, preparing relationships, removing obstacles, arranging provision.
It may be that fear right now is holding you back from God's next step for you; fear of the "mights," the "coulds," the "what ifs." You can't go any farther without taking some risks, trying some things you've never tried, leaving some things you've never done without, going into situations that are unfamiliar, reaching out to some people whose reactions you can't be sure of. Or maybe you're in a transition time in your life. You're about to move from one stage of life to another. Or you are just facing some very scary prospects.
Listen to Jesus' wonderful answer to that shadow that seems to spread over your future. "I'll get there first. I am going ahead of you." The security of a sheep is in knowing that wherever they go, they will find the Shepherd's footprint. That's your security, that's your safety in the flock of Jesus Christ - the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep; laid down His life for you.
You can count on it. The Lord will never lead you anywhere that He has not first scouted and prepared for you. The snowplow clears the road ahead and so does your Good Shepherd. His job is to make the road safe. Your job right now is just to get right behind Him and follow real close.