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Unfreezing the Sheep

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

I always heard that sheep weren’t very bright, but I never knew they could be so fearful.

Recently I traveled to Romania to connect with cancer patients with an amazing non-profit that specializes in free dental work – ServingHim. They also give goats to villagers to provide milk. When our team went to pick up the goats, the shepherds began herding the goats and sheep toward a pen.

At one point, our group walked into the path of the some of the sheep. I snapped this photo, and you’ll have to trust me on this, but the sheep only appear to be moving. While the goats simply walked around us, the sheep froze right in their tracks. For them, there was an impossible obstacle in their journey.

Most people are familiar with Psalm 23, in which the former shepherd, King David, compared the Lord to a shepherd and us to sheep. Yet not everyone is familiar with following the Shepherd “through the valley of the shadow of death.” When you have cancer or a life-threatening illness or crisis, you tend to pay closer attention to Bible verses which once may have read like a nursery rhyme.

The Lord certainly had my attention during my intense battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma. I had moments of confusion, worry, and yes, even emotional paralysis. I felt beaten down by the disease and the treatments. My own resources had been completely drained. I could not see a way forward, so I was ready to give up.

Yet my Good Shepherd was there to prod me out of my frozen status. I could then say with David, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” The Shepherd said to me,

Take the next step. I am with you every step of this journey.
I know where I am going. You can trust Me. Follow Me.

Lord, at some point along our journey with You, we may even need You to carry us.

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