For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. I Peter 2:25
The shepherd took his flock to a pasture so green and so lush. The hungry sheep grazed freely under the watchful eye of their caregiver. After an hour of grazing the shepherd led his flock to a nearby stream. Under a broad smiled sun the herd was refreshed until they were led into another field. The sprawling meadow was dotted with fluffy trees where the sheep could rest in the shade.
The gentle bleating of content sheep filled the air creating a peaceful melody. The shepherd sat on a nearby rock with a tiny smirk on his face. He was well satisfied that his little ones were well cared for.
On the outer fringes of the flock a sheep sat looking at the distant tree line. She saw flickering movement. At first it was a minor distraction but the longer she gazed into the trees the more curious she became.
Was there something more out there? Could it be there was another shepherd who would care for her needs better than the shepherd who sat nearby? Were there greener pastures in the distance? Cooler water perhaps?
The longer she lingered in her wandering thoughts the more a minor distraction became an irresistible temptation. The little sheep looked back at the lazy flock. The pursuit of more was calling. So she turned away and headed across the field in search of new things the world had to offer.
The wilderness blocked most of the sun’s rays. The air was distinctly cooler within the forest. She paused to look around the foreign place she entered. There wasn’t a smooth path on which to walk. Rather rough terrain stretched out before the sheep. Her hooves were accustomed to grassy fields, not a rocky forest bed. She stumbled over exposed tree roots. Sharp rocks gouged the bottom of her hooves. The deeper she wandered the darker her surroundings became. A loud screech from a nearby branch made her jump. She
ran for cover. A thick briar patch was the closest place to take shelter, but as she ran between the pickers her fur got caught on the thorny branches. Her heart was racing as she desperately tried to tuck herself away where nothing could harm her, even if she was taking cover in an angry bush.
The evening sky began to darken and the woods brought an assortment of sounds little sheep had never heard before. She was frightened. She remembered only a few short hours earlier how safe her world was within the fold. As she looked around she was filled with terror. Darkness closed in around her. She was hungry. She was tired. Her fearful thoughts consumed her.
In the distance a howl filled the air. Little sheep froze. She had heard that sound before but her shepherd was always there to protect her. Long howls echoed through the forest. They grew closer. Little sheep inhaled and exhaled in rapid succession.
Suddenly breaking twigs and the sound of sniffing. And then the threat of a deep growl. Little sheep’s heart was pounding violently. She saw the silhouette of a wolf burrow through the thick briar patch toward her. His eyes glowed as he bore his fangs.
There was nowhere to go. “Baa! Baa! Baa!” The sheep screeched louder and louder. The wolf was too large. So he backed out and circled the patch looking for a larger opening. Little sheep’s cries of distress rose. Suddenly louder snapping twigs and then a loud whirring noise. Little sheep knew that sound.
With a quick snap the sound of a sharp rock soared through the air. First – thwack! Then the painful howls of a wounded wolf. Then little sheep heard heavy paws beating the ground as the wolf ran away.
Then quiet. Little sheep was holding her breath when two large hands reached though the thistles and thorns. They gently pulled her out of the angry bush.
“Shhhh…there, there. It’s alright. I’m here. I will protect you.” It was the voice of her beloved shepherd. He wrapped her around the back of his neck resting both sets of legs across the front of his shoulders.
“Are you ready to come home now? You’ve given yourself a terrible fright and you nearly broke my heart in two. Why would you wander away? What does this world have to offer you? I am your good shepherd and I am all that you need.”
Friends, have you wandered away? Are you searching for more? Do you look to the world to satisfy your cravings? Do you take comfort in the things the world has to offer you instead of the things your Shepherd offers? I can easily make you a promise today. The things of this world are wrapped in beautiful
paper and dressed in perfect bows. But when you open the world’s gifts you will find an empty box, a box that leaves you disappointed and thirsty. Only God can satisfy the cravings of the human soul.
Come into the fold, friends. In this place you will find rest from your weary souls. He is all you will ever need. He is all you will ever want.
Tomorrow, May 7th, is a national day of prayer. We will come together for prayer at noon at Faith’s main campus. This will be a drive in prayer service. We hope you are able to make it.
Blessings to you, Lynn
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand. It is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the One who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27