If “the Lord is our Shepherd” and we “shall not want”, why do we struggle or experience pain and loss?
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Do you know what this means?
That you watch over and protect those that are yours. That we want for nothing while under your care.
Correct. So if you are my sheep, why do you ever struggle? experience pain or loss? hunger or fear or worry or doubt? If you are my sheep, why can evil still harm you and suffering breach your front door?
I would be dishonest if I said I never wondered the same thing.
It is because my sheep need more than food and clothing and comfort and fun to be sanctified and be made ready for an eternity in my holy presence. My sheep need pain and suffering, loss and disappointment. They need to struggle. Remember, you are being redeemed from an existence marred by sin and rebellion. It has warped and deformed your very nature. So while justification, eternal life, is granted by grace, as Jesus took on this suffering for you, sanctification is still the price of entry into my Presence. Yes, some must endure more than others. But as we started this morning, the Good Shepherd knows exactly what you need and equips you accordingly. If some work all day, and some only work the last hour, and each receive the same pay and reward, what is that to you? I am sorry that pain is necessary and that suffering is the road to humility, sanctification and preparation for Heaven. The decision to rebel and serve Satan and self was not made by you – you simply were born into and live in its legacy and shadow. But you have been marred by it nonetheless, and you must not only be justified from this but also sanctified from it. If you want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, you must also know and experience the fellowship of his suffering. At least you can know that I am not asking you to do anything that I have not done or experienced. I ask you to trust me that it is good, and that it is worth it. I knew you could not do this on your own, so I have sent nothing less than my Holy Spirit. Make room for Him, embrace Him, and He will get you through this. There is more power there than you think. Pour your need out to me and let my Spirit heal and embolden and empower. You are not alone! I have not left you alone to face evil and pain in this forsaken place. You are not alone! You are not alone! You are not alone! This is the Lord.