This is a short chapter titled “The Christian’s Shepherd” from the book The Christian by William S. Plumer. It was first published in 1878.
“He leadeth me.” – I certainly need some one to lead me. I am so poor, so blind, so weak, so foolish that, if left to myself, I must fatally err. For a long time I required the help of nurses and the guidance of parents and teachers; and when I ceased to have these, I needed God’s help as much as ever. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. We have in our language hardly any form of speech that expresses a sadder state than when we say of a man, “He is awfully left to himself.” Lord, never leave me nor forsake me, lest I be undone.
Then He leadeth me so gently. Even when all around is uproar and confusion, I am carried along almost as if there was no commotion in the world. When God gives peace, who can make perturbation? The Lord is more true in His friendship than a brother, more pitiful than a father, more loving than a mother, more gently than a woman. He doth not afflict willingly. Nor does the Lord ever lead me otherwise than wisely. He makes no mistakes. He knows the way I ought to go. He knows how much sweet and how much bitter are best for me. He understands me fully. He knows my spirit would fail before Him if I were dealt with severely. Oh, how He mingles mercy with judgment!
True, He leads me often in a mysterious way. I see not the end from the beginning. I can not see afar off. If I perfectly comprehended all God’s ways, I think I should be capable of guiding myself, at least to some extent. When all His waves and billows go over me, how can I tell anything? Would Jacob, or Joseph, or Bunyan, or Rogers have chosen the way the Lord led them? Have not the saints long been crying, “O Lord, how long?” His footsteps are in the sea; clouds and darkness are round about Him. He giveth account of none of his matters. His judgments are a great deep. But He never does wrong. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness. Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne. In review of all the past I can truly say, “Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord. I know that in faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me.”
Then He leads me always: in prosperity and in adversity; in joy and in sorrow; when alone and when surrounded by others. If He left me even for an hour I should be undone. When I sleep, Thou, Lord, keepest vigil over me. When I awake, I am still with Thee. On the land and on the sea I am kept by the mighty power of God.
He leadeth me, and I will trust Him. He deserves my entire confidence. It is my sin and my folly that I am so slow of heart to repose confidence in Him. I will try to do better. Lord, give me the heritage of them that seek shelter under the shadow of Thy wings. Thou art my Shield, my Refuge, my Strong Rock, my God and Saviour.
He leadeth me, and I will follow Him. I will put my hand in His, and go wherever His prudence shall direct. Never yet has He brought me into needless trouble. When affliction has gained its end, relief, in some form, has come. I will mark His footsteps, and go right forward. He will guide me by His counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Oh, well, if glory is to follow sorrow and anguish, I will say no more:
“The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrows are unknown.”
I must be content that He should have His way. My will is the will of a worm, a fool, a sinner. “Not my will, but Thine be done, O God.” I care not what comes if the end be eternal life – everlasting repose in the bosom of God. Guide me on and up and through, O Lord. Be Thou on my right hand and my left by day and by night. Strengthen me with strength in my soul.
(Photo from Pexels.com. Credit to Kailash Kumar.)