This is one of the most famous passages from the Bible:
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT)
This stirs up images of a peaceful scene, where a gentle shepherd patiently guides his compliant wooly friends to a place of rest, refreshment and relaxation. While there may be some of that here, the reality is that the shepherd is leading the sheep strongly, and at times very sternly, because their lives depend on it. I mean no disrespect, but sheep are not brilliant animals. Left on their own, they easily get lost and put themselves in danger of lurking predators. The shepherd knows when the sheep need to slow down, rest, and be ready for upcoming travel which will require strength and endurance. God sees us much like sheep in the sense that we need His watch and care. He will create opportunities for us to get rest, spiritual strength and encouragement through church worship services and small groups (live or on-line), and we also need personal time alone with God in prayer and Bible reading.. God provides these opportunities, but is up to us to take advantage of them. God knows that we need these times to renew our focus and strength, because life is full of challenges and often times it’s trials that we haven’t anticipated.
Sometimes God will allow us to get into tough situations when we have wandered away from His guidance and into trouble. He will warn us, but not prevent difficult things from happening. He uses the messes we get into, to teach us that we need His wisdom and guidance for our lives. I have lived both ways, and I am a firm believer that it is better to be prepared and avoid trouble, than to have to learn things the hard way!