When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them. (John 10: 4)
This is intensely difficult work for Him and us— it is difficult for us to go, but equally difficult for Him to cause us pain. Yet it must be done. It would not be in our best interest to always remain in one happy and comfortable location. Therefore He moves us forward. The shepherd leaves the fold so the sheep will move on to the vitalizing mountain slopes. In the same way, laborers must be driven out into the harvest, or else the golden grain would spoil.
But take heart! It could never be better to stay once He determines otherwise; if the loving hand of our Lord moves us forward, it must be best. Forward, in His name, to green pastures, quiet waters, and mountain heights! (See Ps. 23: 2.) “He goes on ahead of [us].” So whatever awaits us is encountered first by Him, and the eye of faith can always discern His majestic presence out in front. When His presence cannot be seen, it is dangerous to move ahead. Comfort your heart with the fact that the Savior has Himself experienced all the trials He asks you to endure; He would not ask you to pass through them unless He was sure that the paths were not too difficult or strenuous for you.
This is the blessed life— not anxious to see far down the road nor overly concerned about the next step, not eager to choose the path nor weighted down with the heavy responsibilities of the future, but quietly following the Shepherd, one step at a time.
Dark is the sky! and veiled the unknown morrow!
Dark is life’s way, for night is not yet o’er;
The longed-for glimpse I may not meanwhile borrow;
But, this I know and trust, HE GOES BEFORE.
Dangers are near! and fears my mind are shaking;
Heart seems to dread what life may hold in store;
But I am His— He knows the way I’m taking,
More blessed even still— HE GOES BEFORE.
Doubts cast their weird, unwelcome shadows o’er me,
Doubts that life’s best— life’s choicest things are o’er;
What but His Word can strengthen, can restore me,
And this blest fact; that still HE GOES BEFORE.
HE GOES BEFORE! Be this my consolation!
He goes before! On this my heart would dwell!
He goes before! This guarantees salvation!
HE GOES BEFORE! And therefore all is well.
~J. Danson Smith
The oriental shepherd always walked ahead of his sheep. He was always out in front. Any attack upon the sheep had to take him into account first. Now God is out in front. He is in our tomorrows, and it is tomorrow that fills people with fear. Yet God is already there. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass through Him before they can get to us.
~F. B. Meyer
God is in every tomorrow,
Therefore I live for today,
Certain of finding at sunrise,
Guidance and strength for my way;
Power for each moment of weakness,
Hope for each moment of pain,
Comfort for every sorrow,
Sunshine and joy after rain.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 32-33). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.