As far as sheep go, I was a mess. Separated from the flock…I was always hungry, bleating and alone, stumbling into pits, my wool all matted with briars. Every now and then, in the distance, I would see the shepherd, and sometimes I could even hear him calling, but I was always too busy trying to get myself out of some urgent mess to think about him much.
One day I was desperately trying to slog my way through a never-ending lake of tar. Don’t ask me how I got even got there…I was just living life, minding my own business trying to find a clump of grass in the hard, arid soil, and all at once I found myself slipping down a slope right into that sticky, smelly darkness. I couldn’t even breathe through the oily stench, and there was nothing for my feet to stand on so I could scramble out. It was about to suck me in entirely.
Suddenly, there was that Shepherd, right in front of me! I didn’t even stop to wonder why He wasn’t getting sucked in. I just knew there was no way I could get out of this mess on my own. I looked up at Him and bleated, “Help,” and he understood my language and reached down and pulled me out. He put me around his shoulders and carried me to safety. He fed me the best grass, gave me the purest water, carefully and gently pulled all the briars out of my wool, and somehow got all that sticky tar off me. He has cared for me and loved me all these years, along with the rest of the flock, and still He goes out searching for that one more, one more, one more lost sheep. Thank God.
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?” – Matthew 18:12.