Years ago when I was still a teen, my dad picked me up from my job in town at the vet clinic. We drove west until we reached the exit that led to the place where friends and family were already picnicking. Beneath the interstate overpass, right beside the road, we saw a tiny lamb that didn’t look more than a few days old. “Baaa!” After I checked it, I could tell that the poor thing was dehydrated, so it had been separated from its mama for some time.
We’d passed a large flock of sheep several miles earlier, so, after giving the lamb a drink, Dad and I headed eastward, searching for the road and gate that would lead us towards the sheep. Eventually we found our way into the vast pasture and bumped our way sheepwards. Soon we were greeted by a bunch of barking dogs—no border collies in the group, but some little mutts and a dark grey toy poodle—and a sheepherder.
The latter spoke only Spanish, but thanks to Srs. Wegner and Redler from school, I was able to carry on something of a conversation with him. I’ve long since forgotten his name, but I do remember he was in dire need of a bath and was overjoyed to see the lamb. Indeed, he knew its mama by name (though there were hundreds of ewes in that flock!) and had been searching for the lost lamb since the day before. He’d finally given up, assuming that it had been snatched away by a fox or coyote.
“Grácias, grácias!” he grinned widely, as he cradled the lamb gently in his big arms.
“De nada,” I replied, so happy for him, the lamb, and its mama. Little did I know that someday I’d feel just like that little lamb--lost, forgotten, vulnerable, afraid, alone—and I’d learn that my Shepherd was right there waiting for me to call His name.
“Like a shepherd, (God) will care for His flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, hugging them as he carries them, leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.” ISAIAH 40:11