It was summer vacation; Nita had returned home for a short break to spend time with her parents and grandparents. She had just completed her third year of college. The year had been a challenging one, not in terms of studies as she was a straight-A student but in terms of her relationship with her boyfriend who had chosen to prepare for ministry.
Questions plagued her about her future with this young man. Would she be secure–emotionally and financially? Would she be able to take the stress and strain of parish life, of living in a fish bowl? Would she be able to grow in her own career? In short, would she be a good Shepherdess beside her future minister-husband?
Her grandmother had the wisdom to read her thoughts. She said, “Nita, I have no doubts about your steady boyfriend being a fine, young man except one thing.” Eager to learn from her grandma’s wisdom, Nita was all ears. “What is that one thing?”
“He will be a pastor soon and will not be able to give you a good life. A pastor struggles with financial problems; you will feel most insecure. How will he be able to provide for the children who will come along?”
While Nita smiled and said nothing in return, she wondered if God was waking her up to reality. Was Grandma right? Should she walk away from the relationship now before it was too late?
Being a Shepherdess is hazardous! Grandma had only part of the picture! Being a Taoist, she didn’t understand church politics and how cutting and cruel people can be even within the loving circle of church fellowship.
Being a Shepherdess is hazardous! Grandma didn’t know the constant need to go wherever the mission/conference dictates. Many pastors have moved more than 20 times in 30 years of ministry.
Yes, being a Shepherdess is hazardous! Grandma didn’t understand how pastoral families struggle with helping their children adjust to a new environment, new friends, or a new school. But above all, Grandma didn’t understand the power behind a great God who can supply every need, who knows exactly what is best for us, who has our best interests at heart every time and all the time, who will help us grow and learn, who will accomplish in us far beyond what we can ever think or hope or imagine possible.
Yes, being a Shepherdess is hazardous business, but we can allow our loving heavenly Father to shape us, groom us, and direct us. Whenever in our humanness we turn to worry, then it’s time to pour out our hearts to Him in thanksgiving, and yes, even complaining, and making our requests known to Him.
Even in the most hurtful moment, He is there beside us to comfort, guide, and, more importantly, to grow us until we become more like Him. It is possible with every trial to come away a little stronger, a little wiser, a little more Christlike, a little more understanding of human nature and the spiritual struggle that wages war within each of us.
Yes, being a Shepherdess is hazardous business, but if we place our all on the altar of sacrifice, believing fully in His power and might, in His love and steadfastness, in His every promise to be there for us, we can bear the fruit of the Spirit—that one perfect fruit made up of seven components—love, joy, peace, faithfulness, patience, goodness, and self-control.
Yes, even though being a Shepherdess is hazardous business, one which I’ve been in for more than 34 years, as I look back and reflect, I have no regrets. The road has not been smooth, but God has prepared the way before me. I have grown beyond my wildest dreams; my children have been blessed abundantly. God was and still is always there, holding my hand and assuring me that this hazardous business of being a Shepherdess will one day lead to glorious life eternal.
He has fulfilled what He has promised me– that if His joy is in me, my joy will be complete (John 15:11). Through this hazardous business, I can only proclaim, “What amazing grace! What a wonderful God!”