During this period of necessary shutdown, my husband and I have taken the opportunity to fulfil a desire of our hearts and have welcomed a ten-month old kelpie/border collie cross called Mia into our family. Mia is an anxious, timid girl and one wonders what has happened in her short life to make her that way. We can understand why she didn’t take to the farming life, as walking her on roads around our rural property has seen her giving all creatures she sees – whether ponies, cows or sheep – a very wide berth.
With the sheep in particular, it is hard to judge if it is they or Mia who are the more flustered.
These sheep are free to roam within their paddocks, yet fencing isn’t enough to ensure they feel safe. They don’t have a shepherd. Psalm 23:2 speaks of Jesus leading us to lie down in green pastures, but it’s important to know that to get a sheep to lie down takes skill – and will only happen when everything that contributes to their anxiety or discomfort is removed. The shepherd is the one who ensures the sheep have food and water, are free of pests or predators and are not dogged by in-herd squabbles. It is only once these things are achieved that a sheep will lie down and rest. As I walk along the country road with Mia and see the sheep scatter in fright, I can’t help but wonder how different their behaviour would be if their shepherd was there, armed with his rod and staff?
In some ways we could see the same dynamic at work with Mia. She would lay watching us, occasionally closing her eyes, only to be instantly alert at the slightest sound or movement. She had to learn to trust us, to know she was safe and loved. Then she would visibly relax and rest. We had become her shepherds, and it is to us she comes if she is unsettled.
How have you done with resting during this time?
Our fast-paced world may partially explain why we struggle to rest, but if you have been forced to slow down and still find it hard, this is a good time to ask your Good Shepherd, why? He made us all to need rest. If it’s hard for you, He has the answers you need. Just make the time to ask.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You have the answers to my every need. Thank You that You are my rock, my salvation and my unshakeable fortress. Please show me why it is that I can’t find rest, why I struggle to stop and breathe and just be. Lead me to the answers I need and guide me to healing and restoration. Lead me to rest, Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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