Luke 10:1-4 and 10:17-20, John 10:12

Liz Dumain reflects on the 'wolves' in our lives and who Jesus is as we face them.

Liz Dumain
Liz Dumain

Jesus sent out 72 in twos. I suspect they went in a mix of excitement and fear and trembling. Especially as He says He's sending them like lambs among wolves; not a great prospect. But though they went first, Jesus followed on: He had their backs.

Returning, they are filled with joy: they've seen people set free from bondage and follow Jesus. We don't know for sure what else they've seen, but it's clear they are stunned at what God had done.

Do we always go where Jesus takes us with confidence? Are we sure of our calling, believing what is possible, knowing we are lambs in fields of wolves, but believing Jesus has it sorted and has our backs?

If you're anything like me the honest answer is 'sometimes'. Sometimes I'm walking tall, but other times it's harder. Sometimes the wolves feel big and we shake in our 'lamby' shoes; nervous, feeling inadequate, unsure whether the path leads the right way. Sometimes we hear the voice of the Spirit urging us on, but other times it can feel like the wolves are huge.

Wolves aren't good news: John 10:12 says "He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them."

Wolves separate, wolves scatter, wolves divide, and wolves scare.

Maybe we set out like the 72, but then come the wolves. We set out confident in the Spirit, but as time passes we're not sure what voice we're hearing anymore. Maybe the voice of the Spirit gets drowned out by the howling wolves of disappointment, confusion, times when things haven't gone well, or we're just so weary.

In these moments Jesus calls us to remember that we are just like the 72. We are sent by Him, with delegated power by Him, with the security that He has our back for any wolf that life might throw at us.

Wolves come in all shapes and sizes, but are usually super-personal. Sometimes one week something can be an irritation, the next week we blink and it's a wolf! Other times we know there's a wolf lurking, maybe it's a wolf that's walked alongside us all our lifetime.

I've had a bit of a tough time recently, but I've had a song in my head this week:

For the joys and for the sorrows
The best and worst of times
For this moment, for tomorrow
For all that lies behind
Fears that crowd around me
For the failure of my plans
For the dreams of all I hope to be
The truth of what I am

For this I have Jesus
For this I have Jesus
For this I have Jesus, I have Jesus

For the tears that flow in secret
In the broken times
For the moments of elation
Or the troubled mind
For all the disappointments
Or the sting of old regrets
All my prayers and longings
That seem unanswered yet

For this I have Jesus
For this I have Jesus
For this I have Jesus, I have Jesus

For the weakness of my body
The burdens of each day
For the nights of doubt and worry
When sleep has fled away
Needing reassurance
And the will to start again
A steely-eyed endurance
The strength to fight and win

For this I have Jesus
For this I have Jesus
For this I have Jesus, I have Jesus

Whether you feel like a champion lamb today, or whether the wolves are prowling around, be assured, the Spirit is with you and for this (whatever it is for you), we have Jesus. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.