There are times when I am filled with terror and horror, it’s the only way I can describe it. Breathing becomes heavy and deliberate and my heart races yet the sensations in my chest or abdomen are so dense I can barely move. Does this sound familiar?
Experts call this the dorsal shut down state combined with the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Polyvagal expert Deb Dana says ‘we cannot think our way to safety’ It’s an embodied experience and can’t be healed cognitively. Thankfully the power of the Word of God is spiritual, “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow…”
To bring me back down to that place of peace, I’ve learned to see Jesus as my Good Shepherd. Have you ever wondered why healing the the Shepherd appear together in Scripture?
In 1 Peter it says
…by his wounds you have been healed. For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1 Peter 2 24-25
A shepherd cares for his flock. He loves, protects, feeds and defends them. He watches over and guards them even when they sleep. What a beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus. Your good Shepherd fights any enemy like sickness, that threatens to hurt his flock. He’s fighting our battles for us. What a comfort!
Peter Levine, trauma expert, teaches that those with past trauma trapped in their system don’t feel safe in their own bodies causing them to dissociate and develop coping strategies often leading to disease in the body.
Their nervous system is dysregulated. The Good Shepherd helps us come back to our bodies once again by providing that space of safety.
The Good Shepherd Provides A Sense Of Safety
In Psalm 23 we’re told that we will never be in lack. God is the God of abundance, of vitality and increase. So when our life is threatened through illness we face losing health, years, finances, relationships but because Jesus is our shepherd we trust our lack is just temporary relieving the anxiety such loss creates.
It takes faith and the Holy Spirit to walk in this wholeness, even before we see it. Our good Shepherd really is too good to be true. Can you imagine a life without worry or fear, even in the midst of illness? Seeing Jesus in this way, soothes us and counteracts all that fear.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters… Ps 23 :2
Our shepherd wants us to rest in him so the Holy Spirit can reach those parts of your body and mind that need healing. When we’re in peace our whole bodies are impacted.
Doctors talk of the ‘rest and digest’ stage of the parasympathetic nervous system which restores and renews every cell back to their original state. New healthy neuropathways in our brains are more likely to be created to replace the toxic ones which cause illness and disease.
Healing takes place when we’re in this part of the nervous system most of the time. We’re not designed to habitually be in a state of stress.
Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, she drew close to her shepherd and was restful and at peace. Martha was running around in a state of stress. If you want healing for your mind and body, then spending time in the Word is our starting place.
The more we do this, the more we go through the rest of the day relying on His strength, things become effortless and smooth. When we fail to spend time with God, we become far more agitated and we’re more likely to operate in survival mode.
And Restores Our Soul
he refreshes my soul Ps 23:3
God is the God of restoration. Our healing is equated with soul prosperity. In 3 John 1:2 it says
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
How does our soul prosper? Ps 23 tells us that our Good Shepherd refreshes and renews our soul. When we meditate on the Word and allow Scripture to sink into our spirits, our soul, that is our minds and emotions are renewed. They begin to flourish, to spring back to life as they come into alignment with God.
We can’t expect a physical healing if our inward man is struggling. Too many people are praying for a physical manifestation of healing without allowing the Holy Spirit to heal and restore them first on the inside. Everything we receive on the outside is a reflection of our inward reality, like a mirror.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10
The enemy steals your health, even your life but God delights in adding to his children. Jesus, our great Shepherd came that we might have ZOE life; the vitality of life God intended us to have.
It is His life of overflow and prosperity, health and healing, of joy, peace and fullness in Christ. Seeing Jesus as our shepherd increases our capacity to thrive and live this life of abundance where sickness just doesn’t exist.
The Good Shepherd Takes Our Sickness
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
It is through this sacrifice that we can receive healing in every part of our bodies. He carried sickness so we wouldn’t have to; the divine exchange. If you’ve never heard this before, do read this post on God’s will for your healing.
Understanding this is our springboard, our foundation on which our victory is certain. You may not see it yet in the natural, but receiving this truth on the inside precedes the outward manifestation.
He Goes Before You
“…the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…he goes on ahead of them…” John 10:3-4
Don’t you just love that He has gone before us? Where you are today is of no surprise to God. He has provided a way out and equipped you with the tools you need whilst you journey through.
The doctors, the support group, those who pray or minister to you…..all strategically placed in your life at the right time, when you need them.
When you bask in his presence and hear his voice you’ll start praying accordingly, adapting your thinking and staying in peace. He may tell you the root cause of your illness, which verses to meditate on or whether you need to make any changes to your life.
Listening to the Holy Spirit as he guides you through the season of illness. He is continually speaking to your spirit. Your job is to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His lead. The shepherd’s job is the lead you out of the wilderness or your valley of sickness.
The Good Shepherd Comforts You
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; P 23:4
Our Good Shepherd comforts us as we walk the darkest path. It’s so easy to be afraid when illness threatens our life or wellbeing. Worrying about the future, about whether we’re going to make it or not. Is the pain ever going to go away? Will I ever get my life back?
But you don’t need to be afraid any more for the Shepherd of the sheep is with us. You are not alone. You don’t even need to pray to be aware of His presence.
The number of times I’ve lain in bed, when terror and fear have grabbed hold of me, with Jesus lying next to me as I mutter a verse over myself. It’s the most soothing, most priceless experience.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; “ Is 40:11
Knowing our best friend is continually with us offers us a comfort the world can never give. He flows with tenderness and compassion, nursing us back to health. I don’t know about you but this fills me with such security and peace of mind that all will be well.
He Gives Us What We Need
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies
…my cup overflows.” Ps 23:5
Even when the illness is larger than life and we’re surrounded by symptoms, our good Shepherd, has given us all we need. He is more than enough; the God of the overflow.
God wants to rejoice and celebrate him before the absence of illness. It’s easy to worship when we ‘re healthy and everything is going the way we want. God is asking us to worship him in the midst of suffering. You may not feel like it, but God will give you the grace to praise if you ask Him for it.
Praise always precedes victory. Keep on coming to church and keep on focusing on Him. You can do this and you can do this well.
The Good Shepherd Heals
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life
You don’t need to follow healing. Goodness and mercy will follow you because you’re following the good Shepherd. Jehovah Rapha actually means God is healing. Spending time with Him is what heals us, He is healing.