As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. (Ezek. 34:12)
Expanded Passage: Ezekiel 34:11-12
My dad passed away in August of 2022 from a neurodegenerative disorder called Creutzfelt-Jakob Disease (CJD). For several months, our family knew that something wasn’t right, but we had no idea what was going on with my dad’s health. He was officially diagnosed on a Monday, and by the Friday of the same week, he was gone. Our whole family was with my dad when he took his last breath. It was somehow the most painful and yet most beautiful thing I have ever experienced in my life.
There is something about being with someone. Presence is important. I love that our reading for today reminds us that the Lord, who is our shepherd, is with us. There is no other god that this is true of. At Christmas time, we talk often about Emmanuel, God with us. We sing about it, we preach about it, and we put it on ornaments and social media posts, but I wonder if we forget that he is Emmanuel the rest of the year too.
He is with us when we are rejoicing and when we are grieving. He is with us when life feels good, bad, and mundane. It is so comforting to know that he is not a far-off God, but he is ever-present, always near, with us. Thanks be to God!
Recognize and acknowledge God’s presence in your life today.
Deborah Rhodes is colead pastor of Parkside Church in Greenville, S.C. She is passionate about studying and teaching God’s Word.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.