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Apr 14, 2021 227 Ellen Hogarty, USA
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Are You in the Loop?

In times of uncertainty, there’s no need to panic. Just make sure that you are in the loop!

Some years ago, I made a pilgrimage, with a friend of mine, along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. One day, we encountered a group of pilgrims which included a blind man. He looked to be about 25 years old and was walking along with the help of his mother. I immediately noticed that they were joined at the wrists by an elastic band–one loop was around her wrist, the other loop around his. In his other hand, he held a white cane used by the visually impaired.

My friend and I walked at a slight distance behind this group for quite a while, silently observing them. They were a lively group, enthusiastically chatting with one another. The young man walked very confidently, linked to his mother only by that thin elastic band. Although we were walking through a forested area with dips and turns on the trail and little streams to cross over, she seemed to be leading him effortlessly, without undue concern. She wasn’t turning to him or anxiously looking at where he was placing his feet, nor did he move hesitantly or cautiously, but kept up easily with the group as they clipped along at a good pace. It looked so natural that you could tell she had been guiding him all of his life, and he trusted her.

If we did come across a section of the trail that was extra rocky or had uneven terrain, then she would stop and take his arm to guide him over that. But for the most part, she was chatting and interacting with the group in a carefree manner, as was he. Mother and son took it all in stride.

I have reflected a lot on the real-life parable that I witnessed that day. The Lord wants to guide us along life’s journey, just like the mother guiding her blind son. Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, and good shepherds deftly guide and protect their sheep. So, how do we enable the Lord to guide us?

To receive His guidance and remain secure on the right path, stay connected to the Lord and trust that He knows what He is doing. Like this mother who gently guided her son with the aid of the band attaching them, God invites us to be attached to Him. He has promised that He will never leave us, as Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never forsake you or abandon you,” and we can count on that. But we need to do our part.

What is our part? It is to stay connected to Him. We do that through a serious prayer life. Spend time daily with the Lord–getting to know Him; listening to His still, small voice; learning to sense those slight tugs and indications of where He is guiding us that day. As we stay securely attached to the Lord through prayer, we will know when we are approaching danger; we will grow in trust that the Lord will guide us through any crisis, any peril, and any difficulty. The Lord will give us insight and wisdom on how to negotiate any situation. Prayer is the “elastic band” that connects us to our Good Shepherd.

One thing that this worldwide pandemic should have taught us is that we are not in control. But we have a God who is. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. There is nothing that God won’t do to guide us on our path to eternal life. Even in the midst of so much uncertainty, we can trust the Lord. Stay connected to Him, like this young blind man who never lost connection with his mother. He reached his destination safe and sound and enjoyed the journey along the way. This can be our destiny too if we go hand in hand with our Good Shepherd.

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Ellen Hogarty

Ellen Hogarty is a spiritual director, writer and full-time missionary with the Lord’s Ranch Community in New Mexico. She blogs at cacklescorner.com.

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