When the snow melts, a shepherd will make a trip up the mountain to see where the flock’s summer grazing land will be. He will decide where the best ground is to bed down and the best places to graze. One on of his trips he will take salt and minerals and distribute them to make sure the sheep have all that the mountain lacks. The shepherd will remove poisonous weeds, repair dams for drinking water and clear waterholes so that the sheep have the best chance to thrive. When I think about how God goes before me this is a beautiful way to imagine it. God goes before us to prepare us to thrive. My son was crying last night because he felt overwhelmed by all that was going on in his life at the moment and I reassured him saying that like following footprints in the snow, God has gone before us and already know the path we will take tomorrow. Like the shepherd, he will provide everything that tomorrow may lack so we have nothing to fear. I didn’t fully appreciate this until I was reminded that we should have a joyful expectation that something amazing could happen so before Christmas when I went to support the church at the late night shopping I was feeling a little nervous and so prayed on the way and ended up having this amazing conversation with someone about being fit for god, in fact she is going to email me with some work she has done on the topic. God knew this was going to happen before I did. Often he goes before us to teach us how to be more like Him, when we are challenged by that icky feeling in our hearts when we haven’t done what you know He wants you to do. I had a run in with a Mum at school and have been discussing this issue with a non-Christian friend when God spoke to my heart to say “what should you be doing?”…praying for her and encouraging your friend to think how he can help her rather than being sucked into negativity. I didn’t like that feeling but I know if I don’t change my behaviour that icky feeling wont go away. Deuteronomy 31:8 says “the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged”. We dream of seventy years of happiness while God has eternity on his mind as is clear in Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The Lord is our shepherd, he will look after us and so we can have the courage of a lion.