Who's Got Your Back
I’ll bet you’ve never seen a wild sheep. Think about it. We see wild dogs, wild cats, wild pigs (especially here in central FL). You probably see wild horses if you live out west. On their own, they’re fine. They’ll find a way to survive. But sheep? Not a chance.
A horse without a rancher will dance. A sheep without a shepherd will die. They won’t live well or long. They are at the bottom of the food chain and the top of the high-risk chart. Sheep need a shepherd. If nobody watches their back, it’s lamb chops.
Sheep always need a shepherd. It’s a life-long need they never outgrow. Their well-being, health, and safety depend on the presence of a brave Shepherd who cares for the flock with a “no sheep left behind” mentality. And so does ours. David says,
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).
Here’s a question to consider—especially during these strange, historically unprecedented days: Who’s got your back? Who’s watching out for you? Who’s protection are you under?
Many of us can recall being smitten by someone in our young teenage years. For me, it was a pretty girl who worked at our local theater. I watched a lot of dumb movies back then and ate a lot of expensive popcorn—just to see her. She was cute. She was friendly. But as it turns out…she was also taken. She had a boyfriend.
Michael was new to our town. Big. Strong. And as I soon found out, angry. He had moved from a big city where gangs, violence, and fighting were normal. He brought that “survival of the fittest” mentality to our little town. Eliminate all threats. Eliminate me.
One Friday night at a Wendy’s, I was hanging out with my friends when Michael walked in. He spotted me and froze. His eyes narrowed. He sneered, then pointed his finger at me and screamed “You’re dead!” Then he picked up a chair and threw it in my direction. Thankfully, he missed. But his stunt got the manager’s attention and he was kicked out. On his way out the door, he let me know in no uncertain terms that my days were numbered. He gave one of those “I’m watching you” symbols and let me know that when the opportunity came, it was ON.
I wish I could tell you I was brave and fearless. I was an athlete. I grew up on a farm. But who was I kidding. I was scared. It was a disturbing feeling that impacted my social life. Going uptown on the weekends was the social highlight of every high school student in our town. But not this student—not anymore. For me, uptown became a threat, a place to avoid. A dark, dangerous, deadly valley. I dare not risk venturing uptown and stumbling upon Michael in a dark alley, or at Wendy’s…
I know it sounds silly, especially now, nearly 30 years later. But that event was changing my life. I was afraid. I was anxious. I was sad. I was under self-quarantine. I didn’t go out. I practiced social-distancing. This was life or death to me! The whole “When in doubt, don’t go out” warning we’re hearing from civil authorities was real!
All it took was a flying chair at Wendy’s, and a couple of words from a stranger to turn my life upside down. Why was I so afraid? Because I was on my own. Nobody had my back. But then…everything changed.
My older brother and I were not best friends. But we cared about one another. We spent a lot of time together at home helping with farming and property management. He noticed something was “off” and asked what was wrong.
I told him everything. He listened quietly and looked me in the eyes. I remember him saying something like this: “Don’t worry about Michael. I’ll take care of him. I’ve got your back.” Suffice it to say that if Michael was crazy, my brother was crazier.
Hearing the words “I’ve got your back” from my big brother produced courage, hope, and reassurance. His promise thrusted me back out into the world—and uptown—to face my fears. I could walk through my valley with him.
If an older brother can do that, what can God do? Do you realize the kind of promise we’ve been given in Psalm 23, and the whole Bible? As New Testament believers we have more clarity than David ever did. What God promised to David, He promises to us all. We have nothing to fear. Nothing can separate from God’s love.
“I will fear no evil for you are with me” is not wishful thinking. It’s a promise you can sink your teeth in. It can fortify you when trouble comes.
The word translated shadow of death means “deep darkness,” or “darkness like death.” It’s basically means “your worst nightmare.” For some, the Coronavirus outbreak with all the personal, social, economical, and even physical changes, represents just that.
So let these words wash over your heart. When you place your faith in Jesus, you are his. And he is yours. You belong to his flock. He has your back.
God never promised we’d escape death, be untouched by financial hardship, or dodge inconvenient social challenges and cancelled plans. His promises transcend all that. And there’s the power. We’ll never face anything alone. He’s got our back. He’s with us.
So let’s live as though we have a shepherd who loves us, cares for us, feeds us, lets us rest, and protects us—because we do. We belong to an infinitely greater shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep, then gave us His Spirit to empower us.
So let’s face whatever is next with these thoughts. “We’re not alone. We’re not hopeless. We’re not victims. His victory is Ours!”
We can walk through this Coronavirus valley, face all these difficulties together and say “I will fear no evil. For You are with me!”
No matter what, God’s got our back.