Have you ever played the trust game? Where someone demonstrates trust in his or her fellows by falling backward into the waiting arms of a team of people set to catch her or him?
Whom do you trust like that?
I just played a new trust game. One partner keeps eyes closed, while the other partner leads him or her (only with words, no touching) through a crowded room, out a narrow doorway, down a crowded hall – with other people, both sighted and not-sighted, playing this game – around a bend, down another hall and into a crowded public space. On arrival, turn around and return.
Guiding, without sight. Only by faith. Faith in me. That no harm would come to her.
I am cautious, waiting for the way to clear, while talking her through the steps we will take to reach our destination. Introducing myself – did I mention that we had never met each other before? – I assure her that her safety is my utmost goal. But we will achieve our objective.
We begin. I go before her, my back to the traffic, my face to her. At first, I give instructions: turn this way, 2 steps that way, stop. But when I watch her face I see her comfort. She has placed her confidence in me, her complete trust in me. I will talk her through this.
Come toward my voice.
I will stay in front of you.
No harm will come to you.
I will clear your way.
We enter the lighted hallway through the open door of the classroom and her face beams. She pauses without moving. “That’s amazing,” she says, “I know I am in the light, even though my eyes are closed.”
I smile, but she doesn’t see it. She is waiting and listening, blind to the traffic, the congestion of people, and to the chaos of others navigating the hallway. She trusts. Fully.
So simple. Listen to My voice.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. ~ John 10:14-16
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside still waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
**original painting by Jane Jordan
But we really can’t expect the hired hands
who have charge of so many sheep
to pay special attention to OURs,
even if we offer to pay them a bit more.
Our sheep belong to us.
We are their shepherds.
Not hired, but chosen.
Our sheep are ours to teach about the flock,
about minding the hired hand,
about staying in the safety of the fold,
about eating only the grass from this pasture,
about waiting their turn for sheering even when they’re really hot and bothered.
We are the shepherds of our own sheep.
We would die for them, wouldn’t we?
Or would we fire the hired hand
hoping to find one who will keep a better watch,
use a louder voice,
and wield a firmer staff?
Only the shepherd of the sheep will lay down his life for his sheep.
When we do what absolutely kills us,
when we love them enough to let them go,
to wander, to be lost, to explore,
then, in the quiet, they may listen for the voice they have learned is love.
If they follow it they will find pasture
where they can frolic and play,
freely, powerfully, joyfully.
That will be home.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. ~ John 10: 11-15