See the shepherd on the hills with his sheep. His staff has protected and rescued little lambs who strayed away from the flock.

Looking upon the verdant grass dotted by white, puffs of lamb’s wool, he is satisfied to be their shepherd. Guarding them. Guiding them. Knowing they respond to his voice alone.

But what if an accident or intentional attack took the shepherd’s life.

Would the sheep continue to graze unfazed by such a trauma? No. Rather they scatter from the unknown voice.

Instead of the loving rein the shepherd had on the flock, fear takes its place and the result: scattering.

In Matthew 26:31 NLT, Jesus says to his disciples, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

And, they proved Jesus’ words true.

The familiar voice of their Shepherd was gone. The horrors of the crucifixion blotted out his words that we see in verse 32, “But after I have been raised from the dead…”

So, instead of steadfastly, resolutely and expectantly focusing on what was to come, they fled, scattered...just as Jesus and the Scriptures (Zechariah 13:7) predicted.

Jesus had taught them, “My sheep listen to my voice…no one can snatch them away from me.” (John 10:28-29)

Fear causes us to scatter…if not physically, then spiritually. Fear paralyzes. It makes us incapable of moving forward.

Social distancing for so long from those we love can lead to discouragement and hopelessness even if prudent for a time. Our hearts long to gather not scatter. We look forward to the day the restrictions will be lifted.

And though phone, internet and email ease that a bit, it isn’t the same.

However, let’s be determined not to let anyone steal our joy!

The hope resurrected in our hearts as Christians should keep us looking up expectantly.

Please join me in praying Ephesians 3: 17-19 NLT.

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

So, gather physically and safely when you can…and spiritually always. Selah

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