I resonate with the shepherds. God’s manifestation in our lives can be terrifying at times.
Oh, they would have been familiar with the various ways God’s presence is revealed: God spoke in a whisper to Elijah, appeared as a cloud to lead the Israelites, and spoke through a burning bush. God’s use of special effects was not lost on them.
But that’s not what what scared them.
What did it mean for the shepherds that God was speaking to them?
Did they do something wrong? Were they about to be thrust into a purpose outside their comfort zone?
How could they have known that God wanted to use them as witnesses to one of the most significant events in history?
And that it was happening nearby? Right in their own backyard?
God didn’t require fanfare. Just obedience.
“8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)
They surrendered their fears and sought Jesus.
At times, God has spoken of specific purposes into my life. Like the shepherds, it was terrifying at first. But joy intersected the fear. Because, as it was for the shepherds, Immanuel has arrived. And when we embrace Jesus, we can be liberated from our fears of anything God speaks into our lives.
Because God is with us.