Notes from the Book: The sheep is a helpless animal. It has no weapon with which to fight. It is easy prey to any wild beast of the field. It is afraid.
But the shepherd carries a rod, which is a heavy, hard club.
Mother's Notes: Word. It is written. Sheep pass under rod 2 B counted. Royal scepter. The HS in OT. Scroll & Prophets.
Book: Also, the shepherd carried a staff...
Mother: Spirit w/n us
Book: ... with his staff the shepherd could reach down, place the crook over the small chest of the [fallen] sheep and lift it back onto the pathway.
It is a comfort to know the shepherd will be able to meet any emergency.
Many times we feel helpless; then we find comfort in realizing the power of God.
Book: Thy rod and Thy staff...
Mother: Thy Word & Thy Spirit...our faith is our rod and staff.
My Notes: What is more helpless than lying in a hospital bed, brain not functioning, depending on tubes and bags and machines just to exist? What is more helpless than hearing your children call out, "I love you" and in hearing being unable to respond back with no more than the shake of a shoulder. What is more helpless than standing on a ledge, hanging in the balance between earth and heaven, steps away from the mountains that will lead you homeward? What is more helpless than standing at heaven's gate--like Esther before the king's presence--waiting for the royal scepter to extend to you, waiting for permission to enter in to the King's presence?
Mother always said that one of my greatest attributes is my faith in God. Believing Him, no matter what life throws my way. Believing in Him.
No matter what...
Life has thrown some curve balls my way. A cliche, I know, but it's true. Still I believe in God. I believe God.
So, then Lord...if what Mother said is true...if what Mother noted in the margins of this book is true, Your Word protects me. I believe that.
When Mother was lying in the hospital bed, I read Scriptures to her.
Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness (Psalm 150:1,2 NIV).
I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands (Psalm 63:4 ESV).
Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NLT).
May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way(2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV).
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14: 27 NKJV).
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT).
Over and over I read these verses. With each reading, Mother stirred. She recognized Abba's words of truth, even in her current state. No brain damage could take them away from her, so ingrained were they. They had been her guide for so long, they were not about to stop being so because of some silly little aneurysm. They were the stick she always crossed under. They were the rod by which she was counted.
Thy Spirit saves me when I slip and fall...
Yesterday I had a meeting to attend. As I drove to Panera (the meeting place), the events of this past year slipped into the car unnoticed, then crawled into the front seat with me. The tears I'd held back gushed from my eyes. No warning. No little trickle followed by a wave. They poured out like water onto sand.
I cannot cry now! I won't be able to drive...to meet...to continue on with this day with its many appointments...
The Hebrew word for spirit is "ruwach." It means, among other definitions, "breath."
The breath of God...
Yesterday, as the tears came and the traffic in front of me blurred, I heard a tender voice say, "Breathe in...breathe out...breathe in...breathe out..."
And so I did. And I felt God's Spirit wash over me. Calming me. Rescuing me with the Shepherd's staff.
This is not the front time I've slipped and fallen since Mother died. It won't be the last. But each time, there is a staff to draw me back to my Savior. There is a rod with which to count me among those who will live with Him forever.
A scepter extended that says, "Welcome home..."
There, I will stand with Mother...and Daddy...and all those I have loved and lost to Heaven (both now and in the future) and I will sing, "Worthy ... worthy... worthy..."
Great Shepherd. Mighty King! Everlasting Prince of Peace.