Of Sheep and Wolfs

    Katherine Wolf, a sheep at heart, trusts her Shepherd. At 31, she recently shared on her website, www.hopeheals.com, that she is facing her 11th surgery since her AVM rupture in April of 2008. She says this second aneurism hiding in the recesses of her brain, feels like a ticking time bomb. We all walk around with a ticking time bomb when you think about it. It’s called mortality. We can’t escape it, like death and taxes, we will all experience it. However, for some of us, like Katherine, that ticking sounds nearer and more imminently threatening than for others. It can have names like Depression, Cancer, and Divorce, among others, that threaten to terminate our lives or relationships and quench our hope for the future.

    In my husband’s battle with melanoma, we were told, at one juncture, that we had exhausted all of our options, and basically, he had about three more months to live. A death sentence. Larry’s life song became a Dallas Holmes version of Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, I will trust Him”. Thus began what I would call his birthing process; six months of becoming more and more conformed to Christ’s image. It was 2Corinthinians 1:8-11 and 4:16-17… lived out courageously. Though heart-stoppingly frightening at times, we found joy in those days. Gone were the little irritations of life as we became thankful for the gift of each new day. We appreciated the little minute, mundane miracles embedded in each day; a sunrise, a sunset, a country sky full of stars, a picnic in a sundrenched meadow, and the sound of laughter ringing through our home as we had found humor in the otherwise ridiculous rituals of each day just managing the disease. At the end, resting in his Shepherd’s arms, and literally with his dying breath, he told me “This is the time to trust Him …”And in the twinkling of an eye, he was wonderfully, completely and gloriously healed… on the other side of Heaven’s gates… He trusted his shepherd and found him to be trustworthy.

    It is said that the first time a sheep is sheared, it fights, struggles and resists its shepherd. When shearing time comes again, the sheep is not afraid, and willingly allows itself to be held by its shepherd. Katherine, having gone under the knife before, trusts her Shepherd because she has experienced his faithfulness. And when those most frightening moments come again, she goes running into his arms, where she finds safety. 

    Not so with a certain little New Zealand sheep who had an entirely different mode of operation. When shearing time came he ran and hid out in caves… For six years, he managed to avoid discovery. Meanwhile the consequences of his avoidance grew. The burden of that refusal to face the shearing became heavier and heavier till his wool obscured his vision and the weight of the wool alone grew to an unwieldy sixty pounds. It was fear that drove him from the comfort of the flock and the comfort of the shepherd. Alone in the caves, he remained isolated and detached. Once he was found, the shearing and removal of all of that wool, took a mere twenty minutes. Can you even imagine how free, light and brand new that poor sheep felt!

    So it is with us. When we allow our fears, shame, and despair to drive us into isolation from the very relationships that would be the healing and love that we so desire, our cognitive distortions and shameful burdens grow to obscure our vision and cloud our insight as well. The weight of our shame seems too much to bear. The love of God and the love of others await our return. In fact Jesus, as our ultimate Shepherd, while we were yet sinners, died for us on our behalf. He likens himself to the shepherd that left the ninety nine to go in search of the lost one. Remember our God is the God of the comeback, as my pastor says. If at first you ran away, remember it’s never too late to make the turn and run back to his waiting arms…There you will find the lasting safety, love and acceptance you so desire…

- Bev Elliott

No comments (Add your own)

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.