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November 2013 - Shirley Goodnest

      I ran across a story I haven’t shared in years and thought it would be a good time to do so:

Timmy was a little five year old boy that his Mom loved very much and, being a worrier, she was concerned about him walking to school when he started Kindergarten. She walked him to school the first couple of days, but when he came home one day, he told his mother that he did not want her walking him to school everyday. He wanted to be like the "big boys." He protested loudly, so she had an idea of how to handle it. She asked a neighbor, Mrs. Goodnest if she would secretly follow her son to school, at a distance behind him that he would not likely notice, but close enough to keep a watch on him. Mrs. Goodnest said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to get some exercise as well so she agreed. The next school day, Mrs. Goodnest and her little girl, Marcy, set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another neighbor boy he knew. She did this for the whole week. As the boys walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs, the little friend of Timmy noticed that this same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day all week. Finally, he said to Timmy, "Have you noticed that lady following us all week? Do you know her?"  Timmy nonchalantly replied, "Yea, I know who she is."  The little friend said, "Well who is she?"  "That's just Shirley Goodnest" Timmy said.  "Shirley Goodnest? Who is she and why is she following  us?"  "Well," Timmy explained, "every night my Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers cuz she worries about me so much. And in it, the prayer Psalm says, "Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life." so I guess I'll just have to get used to it!

            Shirley Goodnest and Marcy will not follow Timmy or any of us throughout our lives, but our Lord has indeed promised us in His 23rd Psalm that “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

            Now that may be easy to say when things are going well: when our health is excellent; our income flourishing; our family is well.  But what about when one’s body breaks down?  What is our reaction when a job folds up and there is no money to meet the bills?  What happens if our children can’t make their grades in school or get caught running with the wrong crowd?   Those times don’t seem very good or merciful.  And it is at those times when our trust in our Good Shepherd’s care is tested.  It is times like that when the sheep of God can become fearful and worried, tempted to panic, to bolt and leave His care (as if we could survive better on our own in this wilderness).

            And yet, our Good Shepherd assures us that He is able to work all things out to our eternal welfare and good, no matter how bad it might seem to us.  He promises and will see to it that eternal good and mercy shall follow us all of our lives until the day He brings us home to dwell and rest in His house forever.  Now this is the same Loving Shepherd Who loved us enough to sacrifice His own life for us in order to rescue us from our greatest dangers and predators.  We can trust a Shepherd such as that – One Who has so demonstrated His faithfulness and care for us. We can trust Him that no matter what trial or heartache we face, that His loving Goodness and Mercy will be with us throughout our journey.   As sheep, we certainly aren’t able to see the path or land as well as our Shepherd.  We often can’t understand or see why things happen as they do.   But your Good Shepherd can see just fine – and again, He lovingly promises that no matter what, surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all through your life in Him.


Pastor Reiser




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