Stay By His Side

by | Nov 14, 2023 | Obedience, Sacrifice, Servant, Service

After a couple of days at the YWAM [Youth with a Mission] base in Belize, I wondered what I was doing there. The setting, despite its beautiful name, Destination Paradise, was a challenge. High heat with humidity, mosquitoes, biting fleas that came up out of the sand, fire ants, and sudden tropical rainstorms were the main issues.

The base itself was a cluster of crumbling, rusting, peeling, and decaying buildings. There was no air conditioning in the sleeping quarters, the toilets had to be handled carefully, and appliances and electricity kept breaking down. I was supposed to be a servant, but I didn’t feel any joy in doing my job, one task being baking for the whole student body and staff weekly.

Did you really send me here, Lord? Was this just my own idea? I knew my servant role was freeing the staff from doing mundane jobs, so they could focus on their interactions with the students, who were there to experience God. Even my tasks themselves had their challenges, like not having the right ingredients for the recipes I was supposed to be making. I struggled with the weird, the uncomfortable, the strange, and the outrageous.

Tearfully I asked the Lord, What do you want me to do here? He brought to my mind a picture of one of the staff, who had her dog with her. I was impressed at how Riley walked calmly and obediently by Brittany’s side as she held the leash.

Just be like Riley, and follow obediently at your Master’s side. If you stray, you will get lost, like the night Riley was lost in the jungle and barking in fear.

“He [the shepherd]calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” (John 10:3b-5 NLT)

The word “follow” in Greek means “to be in the same way with”, “to accompany, as a disciple.” Brittany’s dog was trained to accompany her wherever she went, her mistress guiding her along with a leash. Riley felt secure, knowing just what Brittany expected of her. She knew Brittany, and stayed close to her.

I realized the main lesson I was to learn was to follow Jesus daily. My jobs on the YWAM base were vital and important. What was more important, however, was walking beside Jesus, my Good Shepherd. He has me close to Him, He has His hand on the leash, and all I had to do was to follow Him. Are you doing the same?

Prayer: Lord, help us to remember that following You daily is the most important thing. Help us not to worry about accomplishing things for You, but rather to remember to stay close to You so that we can hear Your voice. Amen

Copyright © 2021, by Alice Burnett <>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional 
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Used with the permission of PresbyCan and author.


Stay By His Side