“He guides me along the
Path of Righteousness for the sake of His Name.”
Our little motley crew of orphaned and rejected lambs had not been anticipated nor planned for. . . at least not for the on-going surprises of newborn lambs joining our newly-acquired flock of sheep. Each new lamb was often discovered in the morning, when bringing the food and water to the ma-ma’s. The new additions continued arriving for several months after we bought them. Some of the ewe-mama’s were good mothers and cared well for their lambs. But some were not; sometimes accepting one lamb but rejecting the other, Thankfully, no lambs died. But one mother of two lambs died giving birth. In the end, we had 13 lambs from five ewes, Six of the lambs were orphans.
The visible condition of the ewes we purchased was poor. Matted, dirty wool was very thick from the winter’s harshness. It took a lot of patience and tenacity to help the ewes become somewhat comfortable with us. They were very skittish, and ran from our approach. They needed a lot of basic healthy care, but shied away from us for a long, long time. Each new surprise birth brought new challenges to our desire to care for them well.
But we loved the sheep. That was the bottom-line reason for buying them. Why? For me, I grew up hearing of The Good Shepherd and frequently heard the Bible stories filled with sheep, shepherds, pastures, and the familiar imagery throughout the Bible that reflected on God’s perspective of how He views and cares for us as “sheep.”
Spending time in Israel had brought more color to the pages as I walked through the landscape of the ancient Bible stories I had loved throughout my life.
Then, there were the 20+ year season of spending time with true, real-life shepherds in the Sahara Desert of North Africa, coming to respect and love the people and their culture and heritage had further colored the stories and imagery of shepherds, sheep, goats, camels, and desert places that I had so often encountered through Bible stories my whole life. I had become a student of Psalm 23, pouring over the rich details of a Shepherd, sheep, and God’s imagery through them.
But I had never imagined “living with sheep,” nor actively participating in the day-to-day realities of caring for sheep. Nor had I ever imagined having my own “shepherd’s heart” captured by a little black, rejected lamb. . . to whom I unexpectedly related as somehow sharing my own personal story.