I would like to tell you of a 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?