I’ve heard numerous sermons, Sunday school lessons, and Bible studies where the analogy of God being a shepherd and us being sheep is explored in-depth. From this I’ve learned a lot about sheep and their stupidity and dependence, and there are times when things I do make that sheep comparison so appropriate.
I have come to realize that my—let’s call it a “season of loneliness” even though I am not satisfied with that name—was a time for God to be my shepherd and tend his sheep. When a particular sheep in any flock has a tendency to wander off and go to places where he is not safe, shepherds employ the leg-breaking method of correction. Sheep with broken legs are not able to leave the shepherd; they are completely dependent. Obviously, the sheep probably doesn’t enjoy the leg-breaking process—the shepherd probably isn’t a huge fan either—but it definitely learns to trust the shepherd. And when the leg heals, the sheep doesn’t leave the shepherd anymore.
I know that for the few weeks when I felt like I didn’t have anything to do and that my entire summer was going to consist of work and reading with limited social interaction I had time to sit down and spend time with God. This was time I didn’t make when I had a lot going on, and I had lost a little perspective. During the “season of loneliness” (still don’t like it, but nothing better is coming), I wasn’t going anywhere; I was always spending time with my shepherd because that’s all I could do. And through it all I learned how much my shepherd loves me. I know he wants the best for me, and I know my place is right beside him. Having my legs broken wasn’t pleasant, but what came of it was glorious!
Unfortunately, I still have many sheepish qualities; I am still going to do a lot of stupid things. But thankfully, the shepherd is still going to be there. He is still going to know that I am a sheep and sheep are not very bright. He is still going to love me because I belong to him. He still thinks I am as important as all his other sheep, even if some of them are better behaved. And for all that I am so thankful.
O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.