One of my favorite mental pictures of Jesus is as the Good Shepherd. I like the Sunday School pictures of him holding the little white lamb in his arms. I had the privilege last week of seeing that reality.
I bought a little white Katahdin lamb for Kristen last Tuesday as an early birthday gift. I prayed over the lamb when I got her into the car. I asked for God to give her peace that she was going to a good place. I asked for an angel to come and calm her. And then for some reason I didn’t understand, I prayed in the spirit over her all the way home. I got her home and she had a little diarrhea which can almost be expected after the trauma of moving to a new place right after being weaned from her mom. The next day she had a runny nose but a normal temp. On Thursday, her nose was pouring and her temp was 106.8 – very high. The vet came to check her and diagnosed pneumonia with possible anemia, coccidiosios and parasites. She wormed her and took a sample, and left us with 3 medications for little Honeysuckle. On Friday I took the kids to their writing workshop and came home crying. God wouldn’t let this happen again? I had prayed over buying this lamb. My eyes and my heart had kept coming back to this sweet faced, small little lamb.
In my head, the devil was throwing everything back at me: ‘You prayed and see what happened? God didn’t listen did He? This lamb will probably die, too. You can’t trust God.’ Then I remembered our scripture reading from that very morning. In the book of Isaiah, King Hezekiah had taken the letter from Senecharib of Assyria and laid it before the Lord in the temple and said, “God of Israel, see what Your enemy has said? He declares I can’t trust You; that You won’t deliver Your people as You promised. What will You do with the words of Your enemies, O God?” And so I prayed like Hezekiah: “God, the devil’s in my head telling me I can’t trust You. Telling me it didn’t do any good to pray about buying this lamb. I just got a problem. What will you do Lord, with the words of Your enemy, when Your Word to me says that I am blessed? That the cattle of my herd and the sheep of my flock are blessed.” I heard the stillest, smallest voice of My Shepherd saying, “Trust me.”
But then I got home and talked to the vet again. Little Honesuckle’s parasite load was 10,000/gram (normal is about 300). The vet was on her way with a second wormer and wanted to do a blood draw. If Honey’s PCV (red blood cells) and protein were too depleted she would need a blood transfusion. OY VEY!! I sat in the bathroom and sobbed – gut-wrenching sobs so loud that Luke came to try and lick my tears and offer his doggie comfort. “God, please, don’t let this lamb die, too. Please, God!!” Then I cursed every parasite in her little 3-month old body, and I declared her healed and well and strong. That her blood test would surprise the vet, because those numbers would be good. And then I dried my tears and fixed my face and picked up My Word – His Word. I opened to Deuteronomy 28, the promises we had declared over our families for 7 weeks at the beginning of the year. The words I stand on for my children, and my little hobby farm animals. I yelled those first 14 verses at the devil. I yelled them twice because we’re in a season of declaring a DOUBLE!
We wormed the lamb again, took a blood sample, started an iron supplement, and I waited to see the goodness of the Lord. I talked to the vet on Saturday morning. The PCV was 25 (normal is 28-30) and the protein was 6 (normal is 7.6-8). Only slightly anemic. We changed to a different type of feed for both lambs until Honey is better. The vet was amazed.
This morning she had her nose in the bowl with Daisy competing for the feed. She looks better, stronger, and brighter. And my God? He is as faithful as ever. As faithful as He has told me He is.
I saw the Shepherd reach down and save our little birthday present. I chose her, like He chose me. I picked her out and we nursed her back to health, just like He chose me and healed my every hurt. Now we both lie down in green pastures and are led beside still waters.
And that’s what’s happening on the hobby farm as I Reflect on the Pond.