Thursday, April 21, 2016

Leading From Behind

So, I hesitate to throw this out there, but I’m taking the leap! I’m not saying this applies to but me… The loud one who loves attention and the limelight, the affirmation, the credit, and sometimes, even the glory—God forgive me.

Some of what I’ve heard from the Lord this week… the exact words that came into my head were “Lead from Behind.” I googled it, and I guess it’s a phrase that’s been used a lot. I must have heard it before, but didn’t remember it. It’s kind of like shepherding. I also heard, "Empowering from the Shadows."  Then I read this scripture this morning, which spoke to me on a very personal level, and ended with the leading from behind note.

Psalm 77

For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of Asaph.

1 I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
    Oh, that God would listen to me!

It feels like He’s not listening, so I shout. I yell. God, please listen to me! Hear me! See me!

2 When I was in deep trouble,

    I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
    but my soul was not comforted.
3 I think of God, and I moan,
    overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude

4 You don’t let me sleep.
    I am too distressed even to pray!
5 I think of the good old days,
    long since ended,
6 when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
    I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
7 Has the Lord rejected me forever?
    Will he never again be kind to me?
8 Is his unfailing love gone forever?
    Have his promises permanently failed?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude

10 And I said, “This is my fate;
    the Most High has turned his hand against me.”

 I’m overwhelmed! Can’t sleep, can’t pray, feeling rejected and alone. The door of compassion slammed shut! This is my fate: God hates me.

11 But then BUT THEN! I recall all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

But then, I remember what you’ve done in the past, not just in my life, but also in the lives of others… and I praise You. And my pity party comes to an end. You pull me out of the endless swirling of negativity in my head.

12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
    I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

I meditate on Your character, God. I think about who You are and I praise You. I am grateful. I count your gifts.

13 O God, your ways are holy.
    Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
    You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude

16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
    its waters looked and trembled!
    The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
    the thunder rumbled in the sky.
    Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
    the lightning lit up the world!
    The earth trembled and shook.
I picture what it must have been like to have been in Your presence that day. Thunder rumbling; lightning flashing; earthquakes shaking; waters trembling; rain pouring; wind whirling… 
19 Your road led through the sea,
    your pathway through the mighty waters—
    a pathway no one knew was there!

And then… AND THEN… The roaring… the chaos... the raging waters… were brought to order, tamed… split in two… and the pathway opened up… Split wide open! It suddenly became clear. No one had known it was there, and yet, there it was, wide and dry. No question about which way to go. YOU led the way, and your servants led from behind. Your shepherds… your leaders led from behind.

20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,

    with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.