The Lame Lamb

good_shepherd I would like to tell you of a shepherding practice that is used when a lamb continues to wander away from the flock. In order for the lamb that keeps wandering away to learn to stay with the flock, the shepherd uses his staff and actually breaks one of legs of the lamb. Then he splints the leg and carries the little one over his shoulders for a good bit of the healing time required.

The lamb is carried this way as they go about the daily life of whatever sheep and their shepherd do. All the while a special bond is being made.

When the day comes that the shepherd removes the splint from the leg of the lamb, the purpose of what may seem to be an abusive act comes into focus.

That little lamb will NEVER wander away from his shepherd again! In fact he now gleefully leaps about in the area near the shepherd. The very hand that had caused his pain, comforted him through it, lovingly cared for him, and gave him a real appreciation for all that the shepherd provides.

So now, when you read in the book of Isaiah ” All we like sheep go astray, each to his own way”, and the LORD is the keeper of them all, I hope that you will remember this illustration.

There is a reason for our pain. If we won’t stop wandering away, the shepherd will pursue our closeness in some other way. That’s just how much He longs to be close to us. Isn’t that neat?

Now What?

Surgery Again??

Yes, that’s right. Thursday, Feb. 21 (the day after I turn 46) I will have my 31st surgery. (sigh). Dr. Karl Raynor is going to go in and remove some more bone and the bone stimulator (looks like AA battery with a bunch of wires coming from it).

I found out Tuesday that there is a reason for the tremendous pain I am having in my leg/ankle/foot. The tip of the fibula (smaller lower leg bone) which had been cut off at a sharp angle is growing into the tibia (larger lower leg bone) trying to form a pseudojoint.

What does all that mean? P-A-I-N!!!

It’s been over 3 weeks of constant Level 8 pain with spikes of “drop me to my knees” 9.5! I don’t ever use the 10, because I think it can ALWAYS be worse.

The last month of increasing pain has been hard on me, and my family as I can not do as much as I used to. So I am glad that I will be having the surgery soon.

The Battlefield of the Mind

I remember the first battleline decision: I must put myself on the crutches again. My “stinkin’ thinkin'” would have me believe that this would be proof that I am a failure; that I am weak and feeble; going backwards instead of forward.

My pain management tools are starting to kick in, as I reminded myself that I need to take care of my body and forget about what others may think or say about me being back on crutches. Once the decision was made, I just did it!

My frustration grew as my “to do list” had more and more things left unchecked at the end of the day. My house became more and more disorganized and neglected. This all came at a time when the application deadline was very close for a part-time job that I’d been praying over for a month. I had concerns over transportation and the undependability of my body. God clearly shut the door on that one. So He has something even better.

However, if I had a say-so, I wouldn’t have pegged another surgery as the next step in my career preparedness work. Still, after so much recovery time experience with Him I totally trust Him and His direction.

Lessons Being Learned

One great lesson that I have learned in my twenty years of my plans being frustrated . . . God IS ALWAYS in Control !! When I get to the point of saying … “now what?” out of desperation instead of just curiously seeking God’s input on what I’d like to do…. then, and only then is the time that God knows He has my FULL attention and will do ANYTHING that He wants me to do.

What He often wants me to DO, is to just BE. OOOOH, that’s so hard for me! I grew up believing that performance is how I was measured. I truly enjoyed overachievement. So His cure for my wrong thinking was to have me just stop. He caused me to “be still and know that I am God.”

That is not all. He continues to teach me that I am special, just as I am. He loves me like this!? It doesn’t matter what THINGS I accomplish, what success I build up, etc. God has taught me it’s my relationship with Him and reliance upon His provision that is the most precious. . . my true treasure.

The grace He continues to show me as He helps me to see myself, not as I think: but as God says!
Now THAT is powerful!
I still don’t claim to understand it. I truly have to WORK at it… correcting my wrong thinking and poor self-esteem. But how do I do it? With the TRUTH which is found in the Word of God.

So for now, I am going to be in a time of resting in the loving arms of our Lord. Allowing Him to love me. The little lamb with the broken leg being carried by the Great Shepherd.

Weathering the Storm

Right now the wind is really howling outside my office window. It makes me think about the storms of life and about the sermon at church today.

The sermon was about Jonah and how he hired a boat to take him in the opposite direction of where God had told him to go. Jonah understood that God was telling him to go to Ninevah to give them the message to repent from their great wickedness and that God would then show mercy on them. Jonah understood, but that is not what he wanted. He wanted God to punish their evil, not show mercy. So when faced with doing something other than what he knew he should do, Noah ran away.

How many times does that happen to you? You have already set your course and God throws a Ninevah assignment at you.

What did happen to Jonah? Well, the poor sailors that were transporting him were threatened by the very same tremendous storm that God brought up to stop Jonah’s defiance. Once it was revealed that it was Jonah’s fault that they were in danger, the sailors asked Jonah what they must do to appease God’s wrath. Jonah instructed them to throw him into the turbulent sea.

You see, Jonah would rather die than just tell the sailors to turn the boat around and sail to Ninevah. But God kept pursuing Jonah and helped him complete His assignment by providing alternate transportation in the form of a giant fish that swallowed Jonah whole.

Swallow a man whole you say? There isn’t a fish that big. Well, my God is the God of all creation and I believe that His Word is true, so I believe that He did send that giant fish on a mission of its own. I would imagine that the fish wasn’t real keen on swallowing this guy, but at least he obeyed.

So three days of pondering in the belly of that great fish probably had some impact on Jonah’s acceptance of the mission. And the fact that when he was spit out by the fish, it was onto the shore of the land God had told him to travel in the first place… well, that should have been a major clue. No matter what YOU want, it’s what God says that needs to get done.

So here are some questions to ponder:
What assignment have you been sent on with which you have refused to comply?
Why not just do it? Fear…. stuborness… inconvenience… pride?
Do you see sudden storms or alternate routes arise due to your defiance or denial of who is really in charge?
What is it going to take for you to accept the mission?

As I am about to go through another surgery, I am viewing it as an assignment. I am laying aside what I was striving to do: “I NEED to get a paying job, do more for my family, pay endless bills, clean up my office, update my computer, clean up the clutter and prepare our taxes.”

Yep, it’s time to turn this ship around . . . it’s going to be God’s way. I’ve never been very keen on the smell of fish.