I am forever changed by grief, but grief is not the full measure of my life in Christ. “GLEANINGS from Claudia — The Abiding Life” posts explore this life attached to the One True Vine.
“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:3-6
It is lambing season in Western Oregon. Last week a friend called and invited me to bring Amity and Dara to their farm to see and feed the newborn lambs. Harriet greeted us at the house, provided us each mucking boots and then led us through the property to their baby barn where we cooed over sweet little baaing babies. Soon we headed out to a nearby pasture with Harriet’s husband Doyle in the lead. We were directed to stand back off to the side where we wouldn’t be a visible obstacle or cause for fear and then we watched as Doyle opened the gate and began to call out “Lamby … Lamby … Lamby.”
The pasture held about 50 or so sheep and lambs – most often mothers with twins. As Doyle began to call out the sheep turned toward him, perked up their ears and then began to come toward him. They knew his voice and knew him and felt no fear at the voice of their shepherd. We stayed off to the side and watched as this little flock of sheep passed through the gate with Doyle trailing close behind. Doyle took note that there was a sheep down some distance further out and then he moved to the front of the flock leading them on to a new pasture nearer the baby barn. Harriet took up the rear and the girls and I followed along occasionally gently directing a straggling baby toward the flock.
I was blessed by this very visible picture of what Jesus said in the gospel of John. Doyle’s sheep clearly knew Doyle and felt no fear in his presence. They heard his voice and they came to his call, then they followed him to the place of pasture. When the sheep were in the new pasture the girls and I settled back in to loving on and feeding the little ones in the baby barn. A short time later I saw Doyle come to the baby barn with a tiny newborn lamb in each arm and a momma lamb trailing along behind him. The birth was fresh … the afterbirth was still not fully delivered from the mother sheep. These little twins newly arrived in the barn answered the ‘why’ of the downed sheep that Doyle had observed way off in the pasture. And being a good shepherd, Doyle got his flock to safe pasture and then immediately left his 60 sheep and went back for the one left alone.
What a beautiful picture of our Good Shepherd! What a joy to listen for His voice!
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21