Harassed and helpless
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” NIV
The enemy of our souls is determined to harass and hinder us in every way. He exploits our weaknesses, he deceives and misleads, he traps and ensnares. He loads us down with financial pressures, sickness and infirmities. He brings worry and strife. His aim is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Whether it was two thousand years ago or today, harassed and helpless is an apt description of life for many.
Jesus saw all this when He moved among the people. He saw their hurts and broken dreams. He saw how they were so often burdened down with worry about their needs. He saw their disappointments. He felt their pain. And He had compassion for them. He likened them to sheep without a shepherd.
Sheep without a shepherd was really a recipe for disaster. Sheep are among the most dependent of animals. They are quite defenseless against predators. They easily get caught in thickets and thorn bushes. They tend to wander away and get lost. And they need help getting to green pastures and to water. So really, sheep could not survive for long without a shepherd. Without Jesus, we are all like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus came not just to bring salvation; He came to be shepherd that we may never ever be harassed and helpless again. In John 10:14, Jesus declared: “I am the good shepherd… I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” He cares for us. He sees the struggles we go through. He feels our pain. He knows our hopes and desires, our every need. And as Shepherd, He longs to care for us, to lead us to green pastures, to make us lie down in quiet places, to keep us from being harassed by the enemy. And He says to us daily: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30)
So, whatever you may be facing today, whatever challenge stands before you, if you are hurting or in need, if you are harassed and helpless, just remember that you are not alone. You have a shepherd in Jesus who loves you and cares for you. Take your cares and burdens to Him and He will surely give you rest and relief, grace and peace. Let Him shepherd you to green pastures and to restful places.