Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

The first thing that comes to mind when reading David’s psalm is a picture of Christ hanging on a cross, his body bruised and bloody. Not exactly the peaceful scene in paintings of a shepherd holding a lamb in a lush meadow.

However, if you’ve spent time with animals, you understand my thoughts. There is a price one must pay for the privilege of owning sheep. They require patience, energy, and sacrifice. David’s psalm helps me understand the price the Good Shepherd paid for me.

Through the years, I’ve taken care of horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and hogs. And each one came with a price. For whether you buy, trade, or accept animals as gifts, you can bank on paying for that animal in blood, sweat, and tears.

Blood and sweat because caring for animals is a messy job. Your hands will become scarred and dirty in the process. Tears because caring for an animal while they are sick or dying is one of the hardest things an owner will ever do. Sooner or later, you will eventually give part of your life to and for that animal.

Another responsibility David spoke of in this psalm is guard duty. Shepherds must protect their sheep from parasites, disease, and predators.

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7

During good weather, shepherds kept their sheep in the countryside. A circle of rocks created a pen without a gate. The shepherd protected the sheep by stretching his body across the opening. What a beautiful depiction of his love and care for us.

I’m so glad the Lord is my Shepherd. How about you?

Surely Goodness and Mercy

Psalm 23 flock

This past year has been a time of remembrance of God’s goodness and mercy as I wrote my soon-to-be-released memoir. The other side of this valley is nothing short of God’s goodness and mercy.

We serve an awesome God!

True, there are things we can accomplish on our own. But only God can turn an impossible this to a that, an improbable here to a there, and an inconceivable do to a have done. All we must do is move from where we are, trust Him, and rest assured His goodness and mercy follow close behind.

So if you are in a hard place, don’t give up. God wastes nothing. He will bring a good from every situation.

Reflection: How do you see God’s goodness and mercy when looking back through your life?

There Is A Well

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

In 1996, we moved our house to the middle of the family farm, down from the place we began as newly weds.Image (25)

The movers cut the house into three sections, loaded it on trucks, carried it across a bridge, through mother-in-law’s yard, a hog lot, our old yard, and down a sandy lane.

 

 

IMG_0643

Sorry for the long description. However, the point of this post is that anything worth having is never easy. In fact, the lane they pulled our house down, we have pulled cement trucks, electrical trucks, and a pool truck up that same sandy lane with a tractor.

 

 

ipod pix 278

Once the house had been put back together, I was ready to move in. The problem: we had no water. So, I got busy. I called a man about a well. He promised me he could find water. Two holes later, he admitted defeat. The land was too sandy. The walls kept falling in. Rather than giving in to my frustrations, I called another guy. Nothing.

Most drivers that make the mistake of turning their wheels the wrong way usually get hauled out with the tractor. Yep, it’s that sandy.

Along about now, some of you are wondering why we waited to dig a well after we relocated the house. Two reasons. One, we weren’t worried about finding water. Our first well was just over 750 feet away. Two, we were on the mover’s schedule. When they said it was time to move, we moved. No excuses. No delays. We had just finished clearing the land when they called with an opening.

With no well, no water, and no way to move in our new home, we all began to worry. Pa-in-law, the thinking man that he was—bless his sweet heart—began to ponder the problem and came up with a solution. We have a well. Check. We were downhill from said well. Check. Running downhill, we should have excellent water pressure. Check. Why not try connecting to the old well? Why not?

By that time, we were willing to try anything. Ever been there?

The only problem was—that’s right—the well was over 750 feet uphill through a patch of dense woods loaded with oaks and pines. Ever tried digging around an oak or pine tree? Forget the ditch witch and the tractor. No room. Hmmmmm. Sigh.

 

It was a daunting task. Yet one that had to be done! So we drew out the plan and then purchased PVC pipe and glue.

Hubby began digging just outside the kitchen window, across the lane, and into the woods. Each morning when he left for work, my three-year-old and I would grab a shovel, an ax, and head to the woods to dig 25 feet. Then hubby would dig a few more feet when he came home. This was our schedule until we reached the well.

What seemed an unending task was well worth the effort the day we moved in. To this day, we have excellent water pressure and plenty of water. Ain’t God good?!

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Just as that physical well is my thirst quencher, Jesus is my spiritual thirst-quenching well. At times, my problems may seem daunting—unsolvable. But, if I take life one day at a time and follow His plan, soon the battle will be over, the victory will be won, and I will move into my new home.

 

Allow me to encourage you, today. No matter where you are, whether it is sandy, rocky, or muddy, dig past the bedrock of the present circumstances until you reach the life-sustaining Spring. Thank Him for this season. I promise, you will find a refreshing drink of strength to carry on.

Where there is a Well, there is a Way.