I was barely holding on to my government job. Of course, pain and depression were hindrances, but I was also discouraged by the lack of advancement opportunity. After all, it was unlikely that a knight in shining armor would sweep this hurting princess off her feet in her old age. I had to consider a position with growth and career potential.
After months of searching the want ads and consulting with placement agencies, only one position presented itself which matched my experience and interests.
I enjoyed my interview with Ellen, and she offered me the job. I would be working in a two-person office, just Ellen and me.
After a brief orientation on my first day of work, we settled into our cubicles. Shortly thereafter, Ellen received a phone call. I could not help but overhear the “Praise the Lord!” and “Isn’t God good!” that slipped so naturally and enthusiastically from Ellen’s mouth.
Oh no! I’m trapped in a two-person office with a – a Christian?
Over the years I had placed a huge wall between myself and all things spiritual, especially Christians. This time I had nowhere to run. Suddenly the hustle, bustle, and anonymity of a large, secular government office sounded more comfortable than I had ever thought possible.
Ellen was confident, but not haughty, in her faith. She was patient with me. It was if she knew – knew my spiritual sensitivities. She did not broach spiritual topics, nor did she pry. She simply shared her view of truth when the conversation naturally allowed, and she went about her day with joy and serenity.
“Oh, gag me,” I thought.
Secretly, I longed for those vaguely familiar qualities.
After about a year’s employment, Ellen asked me to join her for church the following Sunday. As I spoke an emphatic “no,” I heard “yes” come from my mouth. I am convinced to this day that it was not me, not my voice. I was stunned by this turn of events.
I was mute, silently scanning the desert landscape, as we drove to church on Sunday. But my rebellious heart was screaming. Even though it was a cool January morning, perspiration drenched me.
As we entered the church, I was convinced everyone was staring at me knowingly, as if they had inexplicable insight into my life of anger and rebellion. I wanted to bolt – badly.
The sermon was about lost sheep, about straying from the faith. Had Ellen planted this sermon topic in the pastor’s ear? Had she known all along about my dark heart? It surely seemed like the pastor was talking directly to me. The urge to bolt intensified.
I heard a voice. It said, “Resist. Don’t be a fool twice.” A cold chill came over me.
As I frantically sorted through warring messages, another voice entered my consciousness.
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
Do I know that voice, I wondered?
Again, I clearly heard, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
My heart quickened.
From the pulpit, I vaguely heard “…..He who began a good work in you….”
I then focused my attention on the pastor just as he stated, “If there is anyone here today who would like to rededicate their life to the Lord, now’s the time. Your Shepherd is calling.”
The Shepherd’s voice was clear and surprisingly familiar. “Come.”
As I made my way forward, I no longer cared what others were thinking of me. My Shepherd was calling. I wanted nothing more than to run to Him.
I don’t remember how much time I spent on my knees that Sunday morning. I do recall rising to my feet, searching the sanctuary for my friend, and locking eyes with her tear-stained face. I realized at that moment that Ellen had been a divine appointment. God had clearly orchestrated circumstances in my life to draw me back to Himself, and Ellen had been His willing tool.
The Shepherd searched for – and found – His Lost sheep.
Is your Shepherd searching for you? Take the time to quiet your heart so you are able to discern warring voices. Hear Him. Run to Him. Forgiveness is guaranteed.
Unimaginable glory awaits.
Joy in Jesus,