Ezekiel 34:31 – You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord. (NIV)
Years before she was married, my mom used to work on a farm which, strangely enough, was in the heart of the parish where I later ministered for nine years. She usually worked alongside the shepherd and learned many of the skills of looking after sheep.
One day, she came across a young lamb whose mother had died during its birth. My mom realized that the wee lamb would have to be brought back to the farmhouse where it could be fed and taken out of the cold, chilly wind. The shepherd offered to carry the lamb for her, but my mom insisted on doing it herself. The farmhouse was two miles away across the fields, but the lamb was light and cozy in her arms.
Halfway to the farmhouse, it started to rain. The field became muddier and muddier, making it difficult to walk. The rain also started to penetrate the lamb's woollen coat, and it soon became heavy and soggy. As the weight of the lamb became greater, the shepherd helped my mom carry the lamb. The mud made each step more difficult, and the farmhouse seemed to get further and further away. Eventually, after a long struggle, all three reached the comfort and warmth of the farmhouse.
Years later, in rare moments of sanity and clarity, my mom would tell us this story over and over again, always ending it with the phrase, "If it wasn't for the good shepherd helping me, I could never have saved the poor wee lamb." It was a lesson that I never forgot.
God is our Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep, the flock of His pasture. In the midst of our struggles with life, He will carry us to safety.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, at times we need You to guide us and walk with us; in other pressing moments, we need You to help us and carry us. Whatever we do today and wherever we are, be our Good Shepherd. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.