God’s Pretty Good at Taking Care of You

by Mike McKinniss

SheepI am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  John 10:11

I doubt other people have this issue, when it comes to dealing with God, but I disagree with him a lot.  I have, from time to time, gotten the distinct sense that the Lord wants me to do something for someone else (it’s always for someone else), like praying for them or meeting a need of theirs or acknowledging their presence.  And I typically respond by informing him: “But I don’t want to do that, God.”

I’ve got my reasons, whatever the circumstance.  I’m not ready for that.  I’m not spiritual enough.  That’s not my personality.  That’s too scary.  That’s too risky.  That’s going to cost me too much.

Ultimately, though, I’ve really only got one reason: me.  Really, I just want what I think is best, or, barring the best, I just want what will make me comfortable.  I’m concerned about my stuff, not theirs.  In short, I basically only want to think about myself.

For whatever reason, though, it doesn’t seem that God is all that interested in my comfort.  And so we argue.

It is in these times that I tend to forget an important fact: God is for me.  He’s not interested in abusing me.  He’s not interested in misleading me.  He’s not interested in holding me back.  He has been, after all, best exemplified by the good shepherd who cares for his sheep (John 10:1-18).

God is supremely interested in my well being.  You can distort that statement in all sorts of ways (and it has been), but the truth of the matter is that God has the best in mind for each of us.  I like the way a colleague of mine puts it: “God always has your highest and best purposes at heart.”

It is this simple yet profound fact that I’ve typically forgotten when I get into these arguments with the Lord.  “You want me to do what?  But I don’t want to do that.”

And God’s all, “Yes, but I think you’re forgetting something.”

“I doubt it.”

“Ahem, I want the best for you.  And I know everything.  So if I think you should do this, then…”

Ensue sheepishness.

The point is that God is deeply concerned for me.  He wants what is best for me at all times.  And it turns out he’s pretty good at taking care of my concerns.  But if I focus my energy on myself, I can actually block the Lord from caring for me.

Rather (and this is only very slowly dawning on me), it turns out that when I concentrate my attention on others, the Lord is suddenly freed to meet my needs as well.

It’s an odd paradox, but it seems the truth is that I’m in the best shape when I’m caring about other people because it gives the Lord access to fill me, which, of course, he does better than I ever could.

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