The Shepherd’s Staff

I have been sitting in my chair praying, listening to the song “House of God, Forever” by Page, and wondering what I was going to write about the topic of surrender. There are many angles and stories I could give in my own life but there is a line in this song that states, “Your shepherd staff comforts me…”, and it has reminded me about the joy of surrendering to discipline.

This very week I have decided to surrender something to God and I am reminded that I am like a sheep that is constantly going astray. I always need my Shepherds staff to grab me, whack me, and set me back in my place. I need the pain because I know that His discipline for me is for my good.

I remember a time when I didn’t want to surrender to God’s discipline. I was in a place of leadership in my church yet secretly I was living another life, a sinful life. I was caught in my sin and as a consequence I was asked to step down out of my leadership role for a while. I was bitter. I became angry. I loved doing what I was doing within my position. I resisted and slandered the person who caught me in my sin. How evil my heart was; and notice I wasn’t angry with my sin. I was angry I was caught. I remember one night being so angry with God and I opened up the book of Job and read: 

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh.’ Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.” Job 1:21-22

That did it for me. I broke. Here I was caught blatantly in my own sin, guilty, blaming others and God while this sinless man lost everything because of nothing and still did not sin against God. The book of Hebrews continued to give me understanding:

 “My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons…No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:5-7, 11

 The Lord had to deal with the sin in my life; not only with the blatant sin, but with the hidden idols within my own heart. I loved that position more than I loved Him. I had placed idols in my life without even knowing it. He was sanctifying me to give me an eternal perspective. I can look back now and see how He was preparing me for the future. Notice what Hebrews says, “Endure suffering as discipline.” As my pastor has said, “Even if we suffer for the rest of our lives, it’s just the rest of our lives.” If anything, God is continually disciplining me to remember the kingdom perspective. Nothing in this world will bring hope like the hope of the gospel, and if we set our hearts on anything else they will fail us because one day we will die and live in eternity with God or without Him.

 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters-yes, and even his own life-he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27 

Though this truth is hard to grasp, I believe this is the point of our suffering. I believe that God is sanctifying us through the means of suffering to discipline us to have an eternal God-kingdom perspective; whether that is a hard job, sickness, failed relationship, lack of satisfaction in a great relationship, and so on. We must learn to surrender whatever we are grasping onto and allow His discipline to lead us to the house of God forever. Please do not resist when He uses his shepherd’s staff to grab our attention and say, “No, no, not that way. Follow me.”

 


Ryan Thomason has been around Transform Student Ministries for many years. Ryan is a former Boot Camper, Staffer, and Intern.

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