Last weekend, I took my nephew to Noccalula Falls and we visited the petting zoo. Now, I am not an animal person but the one animal that caught my attention was the little sheep. It was the cutest little black sheep. I was reminded of the stories in the Bible where Jesus tells us that he is our shepherd. So I watched the sheep and the worker there. That little sheep followed the worker everywhere...I mean everywhere. When anyone else tried to touch it, it would cringe and run back to the worker. He would bury his head in her legs. He never left her side.
After about 20 minutes of watching this, I said to the worker "that little sheep sure does love you." Her response is something that I feel like sparked a different dimension to my relationship with God. She said "it is because I feed him." Simple words. But it has stirred something in my heart to make me want to study this and to know the Good Shepherd even more.
I came across a story about the wayward sheep. The one that kept running away from the fold. The rebellious one, if you will. The story goes that the shepherd will go to the sheep, break its legs, and hoist it upon his shoulders until the legs heal. That way, the sheep cannot keep straying away from him or the flock. The shepherd knows that others will eventually follow the rebellious sheep and could cause him some troubling problems. This disciplining process shows that even though the sheep needed discipline from the shepherd, the shepherd still loved the sheep deeply. Being carried on the back of the shepherd, the sheep developed a more trusting and caring relationship with the shepherd and wouldn't wander off again.
This blows my mind. He goes to that sheep. He is committed to his flock in a way that makes me want to stay by his side forever.
And maybe that is because my legs have been broken.
I see the discipline of God in my life that has also been the kindness that led me to repentance. During my addiction to drugs and alcohol, I kept wandering away. I would even bring some of his flock with me. He would try to bring me back, but I wanted to serve the god of this world rather than stay close to my Father's heart. So God did what any good shepherd would do, he pursued me, broke my legs and carried me. I was carried for a while. It was painful, and still is at times. It was a severe mercy. But still mercy. My legs have been broken, and now as the healing process continues, he is allowing me to walk again. I do not want to leave the Good Shepherd's side, ever again. There is nothing good away from him. I have tried it all.