By Chaplain Franklin Sasser
… I know them, and they follow me.
– John 10:27
In the middle of Madrid is a beautiful park. In the center of a large city filled with beautiful architecture, sculptures and paintings, there is an oasis of almost natural beauty. Retiro Park is manicured and sculpted to its own beauty.
As I walked through the park I saw people playing outdoor games. I saw families frolicking in life. There were old men tossing large balls in an ancient game. There were children laughing in a universal language. There were young couples speaking a language of love that can be understood by any ear in the world.
In the midst of the garden is a place of beauty within a place of beauty. There is a little lake where I enjoyed watching ducks. Ducks are good flyers. They are good swimmers. Some are good divers. You can talk to the ducks in Retiro Park, if you speak Duck.
As I stepped onto the dock to get a closer look at their colors, I noticed they seemed as relaxed as the people in the park. I thought perhaps I could talk to the ducks. They were already quacking away, and these ducks really do quack. They were swimming around like happy little ducks. I called to them, “Here ducky, ducky. Come here, ducky, ducky.” They swam around oblivious to my call. They were inattentive to my voice.
Then I called, “Pato, pato, pato.” They quickly changed their course and paddled toward me. The ducks of Retiro Park do not know “duck,” but they know “pato.” If you speak their language they will respond to you.
Using a different metaphor, Jesus said, “My ducks hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) Elsewhere we hear, “The Lord is my poulterer. I do not need anything else. (Psalm 23:1) “We are His people and the ducks of his pond.” (Psalm 100:3)
It is good to be known by God. It is good to know God. It is good to be cared for by God. I like being a duck in His pond. I like knowing His voice. When I paddle through the shadowy pond of pandemic, I know He is with me. (Psalm 23:4)
My problem is that I am afraid of the shadows. There are those dark corners of life where the painful surprises lurk. It is from the unknown that bobcats pounce and death ensues.
Even in the darkness of life God speaks to me in a voice I can understand. He calls me to follow in the dark shadows where painful surprises do lurk, where bobcats do pounce and where death does ensue. “My ducks hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.”