This week I ran across these verses about God choosing King David to rule His people. King David started out life as a shepherd boy.
He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants–God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands. (Psalm 78: 71,71)
God always uses our present to prepare for our future.
All the skills David used in the field as a shepherd prepared Him to be the kind of king who could rule God’s people well.
I have been thinking about shepherds lately. They didn’t have an esteemed career in society. They went off for long periods of time in an era with no cell phones or postal service to send letters. They had a staff to guide their flock, but otherwise protected their flock from predators with their bare hands. They had the courage to sleep outdoors and the resilience to travel in the heat of the day to find shade, water and green grass for the ewes and lambs in their care.
While sheep laid in green pastures to digest their food, shepherds had free time. David used the long hours to write songs and create music that became most of our Psalms. It takes time to develop solid thinking patterns about anything. David used his time to process life with God.
Maturity in any area of our lives never happens overnight.
This week I heard about a practice that shepherds used when they found a lost lamb. They would break its leg before carrying the lamb home on their shoulders. While healing, the lamb would get used to the shepherd’s voice and then never leave again. This illustration lends new meaning to the verse, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27) I was driving to work when I heard this on a podcast HERE and I cried.
Note added 11/21/2022: The original title of this post was, God Broke my Leg when Dan Died. I now have reason to believe this fact about a shepherd breaking a lamb’s leg is not true after all, therefore I have struck the portion out. The podcast link is also deactivated, perhaps for the same reason, since the podcast is still published weekly. The error of this message does not erase the principle of this post, however. All other words about what God did for me through Dan’s death remain true.
Because my dear Shepherd broke my leg.
He had to do so because he loves me. God is love, so when we are loving something else more, God lets the scaffolding we are trusting in collapse. Why? So He can get our whole heart. In doing so, God is saving our life, and even our eternity, because it is only when we are walking closely with God that we are safe in our story and truly loved.
Because He loves us, He lets our scaffolding collapse.
Mine did. I thought I had understood the Christian life and had strong faith until three circumstances occurred in rapid succession: a man I loved broke up with me, a ministry I served declared me unfit for leadership, and my dear brother died. Everything I knew about the Christian life collapsed. It didn’t work anymore, so I decided to try living my way instead. After seven subsequent years of making a mess of my life, I cried out to God for help just prior to my 32nd birthday and asked Him to teach me what went wrong.
I got to know my Shepherd.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27) Whatever your circumstances are today, God is tenderly preparing you for your future as tenderly and as skillfully as a shepherd cares for his flock. Stay close enough to hear His voice.
Picture Explanation: Every I honor my brother in a post, either in April (his birthday) or October (his death). October 18 marks the day I received the call he had been in a motorcycle accident. I try to remember what he looked like and it’s fuzzy, but I always describe him as the gregarious family member that entered a room smile first and kept us laughing at the dinner table with his stories. I will be at a conference, but my heart will be remembering the day God broke my leg.
As part of the healing process, I wrote THIS book. It’s not a memoir. I started at the beginning and re-built my faith and understanding of the Christian life, finding the gaps and filling them. Do you need to go back and fill in some gaps too? Consider reading Live ABOVE the Chaos.
If you want to go back and read the prior posts about my brother, you can start HERE with last year’s post and then click on the October link to find more. From there, you can access as many links as you wish in order to gather the entire story if you are interested.
© 2019 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
Dearest Laurie. I always remember October as your “hard month.” Yes, in His kingdom all does work together for the good. Love you, Dear Friend!
You were there to drive me to New Jersey! You saw my fresh grief. Friends forever.
Laurie, I wish I had met your brother, Dan. He sounds like such a great guy! Even though your 7 years of wandering like a lost lamb and resulting broken leg sounds painful, I love the idea of your Shepherd carrying you on His shoulder and giving you that sweet time to know His voice well, which is exactly what He did and you did! It’s interesting that you used the phrase, “The Christian life (as you knew it) didn’t work for you anymore.” It’s exactly what our pastor described yesterday. It makes the most sense in the series we’ve started on Romans. Here’s the link in case anyone is interested: Rick Dunn, 10/20/19 https://fellowshipknox.org/wl?c=1
Thank you for sharing a link with us, Jewl! I really appreciate knowing others see the same.