A Visit From The Great Shepherd
Dr. David Allen | Dean of the School of Theology
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
**This article was previously posted by Dr. David L. Allen on his website www.drdavidlallen.com and is used by permission.
Dr. Allen is: Dean of the School of Theology, Professor of Preaching, Director of the Center for Expository Preaching, and George W. Truett Chair of Pastoral Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
In the quiet morning hours of Wednesday, August 26, the Great Shepherd visited our home and took his lamb, Sherri, to be with him.
He called her by name, and she knew his voice. Leaving behind her earthly tent which she had inhabited for 57 years and 3 days, she winged her flight to heaven and into the arms of the Good Shepherd.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” said Jesus in John 10:27.
Sherri had known that voice since she was a 9 year old girl. That’s when she followed Jesus and became one of his lambs. But the most important thing is that Jesus knew Sherri. She was His. She was His by creation. She was His by redemption.
Sherri had been walking in the valley of the shadow of death for the last 3 years and 9 months. Cancer is a valley. During her time in the valley, she discovered something: just how much the Good Shepherd loved her and provided for her. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Jesus was ever near to Sherri, showing her his love in many unusual ways, even during the midst of her suffering. His two sheepdogs, “Goodness” and “Mercy,” followed her closely during these days.
Some people probably question the love of the Good Shepherd in allowing Sherri to contract cancer, and ultimately die from it. But those among His sheep who hear His voice know better. Sherri knew better. Oh, she had questions along the journey, . . . lots of questions; but never any doubt of the Good Shepherd’s love for his lamb. Why did she not doubt? Because she knew Jesus is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep. She knew that the Good Shepherd was also the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world . . . for her sins.
Somebody might say: “I am sorry you lost Sherri.” I know what they mean. But I also know that I have not lost Sherri. You haven’t lost someone when you know exactly where they are. I know where she is: in heaven with the Great Shepherd. He took her there. Like David, Sherri could say: “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
And since I am not all knowing, and all wise, and all powerful, and all loving as is the Good Shepherd, I don’t question His will or His ways. In fact, I want to learn the lessons Sherri learned from the Good Shepherd: how to trust Him in life; how to trust Him in suffering; how to trust Him in death.
So what am I going to do now, you ask? Exactly what the author of Hebrews in his benediction in Hebrews 13:20-21 said:
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Do His will; work for Him as He works in me. . . . and await the day when the Great Shepherd visits my house once again . . . and calls my name.