Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Shepherd and Sheep

A few years ago we had a herd of sheep.
The idea was to get the girls involved in 4-H.
It was a good idea.
We never went to a single 4-H meeting.

However, sheep stories and lessons number in the hundreds. I can not describe how the Bible came alive for our family as we made a stab at being shepherds.

There was Adam. And as his name suggests,..he was our first male.
He was big, lumbering and quiet. Sometimes he was mean and sneaky. We used to think Adam was useless to our 5 ewes, but a year later they all had twins.
Go Adam.

Then there was Friendly. A good momma to her lambs. Friendly ate out the girls hands, let us pet her and even ride her. Sweet and trusting. When she lost her lambs,..we always knew it. She would be forlorn and inconsolable. I think of her often and now know why she cried all day and night. I couldn't hardly sleep listening to her bleat on those terrible nights.

Meet Crazy. She was skittish, irritable and would run right over her lambs in fear. A leaf would fall off a nearby tree and Crazy would tear off frantic down the hill. She always frustrated us, mostly because of her poor mothering skills. Sometimes she bumped us in the butt when we passed her by. We would turn around to see her cowering in the corner like we were going to hit her. ?

Introducing Timmy. He was our first lamb that lived to sheep adulthood. Timmy's problem was that, as a lamb, he was viciously mauled by a neighbor dog which left him emotionally scarred for the rest of his life. In spite of his physical strength,..he was a major wimp.

Once, a group of dogs chased and scattered our beloved sheep from one end of the farm to the other. Over the next couple of hours,..we gathered them all up, but couldn't find Timmy. We searched high and low but assumed he had been dragged off to his death.

The next day,..we continued our search and finally found him lying under the edge of the little barn panting, filthy and near deaths door.
As we began to treat his thirst, remove the briers and debris from his wool and comfort him, we also began to search for his injuries.
To our surprise,..he had none. Not a single scratch or bite.
We think Timmy became so scared during the chase that he simply gave up fighting and running.
He chose instead to lay down and die.

It's a good thing for Timmy that he was loved. We loved, coddled and coaxed him back to life and within a few hours, he was back grazing among his sheep family.

Our family's few years as shepherds made us all know why Jesus referred to us as His sheep. It may not seem like a compliment for us,..but the description says much about the shepherd's great love and understanding.

I'm grateful to be so known and loved.
God loves me when I'm good and friendly.
But God loves me as I run in fear, cower in corners, do my share of butt-bumpin, act mean and sneaky and cry through the night.
God especially loves to pull me out from under my issues and coax me back into into the life He wants for me.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want"(NKJV)
"The Lord is my Shepherd,I shall not be in want (NIV)
"With God as my Shepherd, I don't need a thing" (The MSG)

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Your insight and wisdom is something I apsire to...thank you for sharing this.