Over the last year, I have put a lot of pictures on my computer. I found most of them on the internet to put on sermon PowerPoint slides, to be used in the church’s weekly newsletter, or to put on my blog. Since I have some many, I set my screen saver to display them and I just saw one (see the picture on the right) that made me think about how sometimes God has to break us before we are useable; to bring Him glory.
Jesus is called the Great Shepherd and what do shepherds do? They watch over the sheep which are His people; Christians. In the ancient near-east, if a sheep would wonder from the protection of its shepherd it could get hurt or be killed by a predator. The main tool a shepherd had was his staff. The staff was made from a small tree where the shepherd would fashion a hook on one end to be used to grab a sheep. On the other end would be the root of the tree shaped into a ball. The shepherd would have to use this end to teach the hardest lesson of all for the sheep. In order to make sure a wondering sheep learns to stay close to him, the shepherd would use the ball end and break the sheep’s leg. After the shepherd broke the leg, he would put a splint on it and the shepherd would carry this animal everywhere on his shoulders. As time went by, the leg would heal and the sheep would be able to walk on its own. Because the shepherd carried the sheep everywhere, the sheep would stay close to the shepherd and would never wonder too far from him again.
For some of God’s children who tend to wonder, God gives them every chance to come back on their own. If they do not, He will put something in their lives to break them. This something could be an illness or loss of a job, money, friends, or even a loved one. There is no limit how God can and will break a person. If the person is truly God’s child they will come back to Him asking for help in whatever circumstance they are in. In this time, God loving and carefully carries them through this time of healing and learning.
In some cases of a wondering sheep that didn’t learn the lesson of its broken leg and continue to wonder away, the shepherd would have to kill it so the other sheep wouldn’t start to wonder. As the Great Shepherd, God too may have to kill (or call home as Paul writes in his letters) an unrepentant child so that the body as a whole will learn the lesson intended.
God wants the best for His children. Some are misguided in thinking that the world has what we truly want but everything the world has to offer is emptiness. Full satisfaction is only found in Jesus Christ. Everything else is a lie from Satan. If you have wondered away from God and you feel Him calling you back, turn to Him and He will welcome you with open loving arms.