If you’re like me, you know you’re called to lead – by the Almighty Himself – and to do so with all that is in you.You know that as you parent your children, pastor your church, supervise your team, influence your peers, love your neighbor, or clerk at the local store, The Good Shepherd has charged you with the responsibility of demonstrating Provision, Protection, and Presence to those you influence.
But then, seemingly out of nowhere, it happens. Those you were nurturing, loving, teaching, training, and holding accountable for a greater purpose, do what you never expected. Betrayal. Lies. Sabotage. A punch to your reputation. A stab to your efforts. Even a denial of your relationship.
You feel isolated, hurt, alone, and angry. After all you’ve done, all you were willing to do, all you’ve offered on their behalf, how can they cause such pain, such misery, such distress, such suffering?
Then you remember…
He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
I Peter 2:23
The One who knew no sin, the One who gave up perfection and beauty and angels and life with the Father – Jesus – knew what it was like to be abandoned by the sheep, betrayed by those He served. He had invested and loved and taught.With patience and sincerity, He poured all He had into them. Nearly his whole team, to whom He had devoted His all during His ministry, left Him when He needed them most. One with a kiss, others with slumber, another with blatant denial.
To abandonment, though, He offered mercy. To lies, grace. To all who sought it, forgiveness. Disciples became church leaders and pastors and missionaries. What could have simply been suffering and anger and betrayal and death, became beauty and transformation and hope.
Beauty in the outcome, transformation in the process, and hope in the purpose.
That’s what the Father offers us.