For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I mself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, from the New Revised Standard Version)
Ezekiel was one of those taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah. Five years later Exekiel was called by God to prophesy doom for Jerusalem, but hope for Israel. He condemns the 'shepherds' of Israel, ie the kings and priests, but he offers salvation for the future in the shape of a Shepherd, that is, the Messiah.
Christians believe that Jesus is that Shepherd, and it is He who will search us out when we are lost in a time of depression; he will rescue us from danger; he will heal us when we are sick; and he will feed us spiritually when we are vulnerable.
Jesus referred to stories of shepherds throughout his earthly ministry, but if these verses give us hope, we should also note that when we have been rescued by God we are expected to become part of His search party to rescue others. Who can you rescue this day?
Lord Jesus Christ,
Shepherd of us, Your sheep,
rescue us when we are lost;
save us from depression;
and cure us from sickness.
Then help us to see our role
in rescuing others,
and bring them into the fold.