Autumn Leaves 3 Column

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Llama Drama

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”  Luke 15:4-5 (NASB)

Several years ago, I was in my office on the phone with my husband.  Looking up, there they were!  Four llamas went trotting past my yard and continued down the street.  I quickly ended my phone call, saying to Bob, “You won’t believe this but there are four llamas running down our street!  I have to go!”

Without hesitation, I grabbed a dog leash and headed down the street in search of the llamas.  Because I grew up on a farm I was not the least bit afraid of them unlike some of the other people helping to catch them.  After quite an intensive herding effort by many neighbors in cars and trucks, I was able to catch one and slip the leash around her neck and guide her back to her pasture. 

Finally, the other three llamas were herded into the proper farm yard and I was able to set my charge free to join her mates safe and sound in their own pen.  By the time I returned home a good hour had passed and I knew I had to call my husband back and fill him in on the outcome of the wandering llamas!

When I finally stopped laughing about being part of such an unusual rural drama, I wondered how the owners would have felt if they had returned home and their llamas were missing.  I’m sure they were thrilled that people had taken the time to corral and return their animals.  

I love how God uses such strange and funny things to get my attention. As I thought further, I had a sobering thought.  I realized how rarely I see the lost “sheep” in my small world.  And I take for granted my precious Savior’s concern for His lost sheep.  Am I sensitive to the people He brings across my path?  Would I spend as much time ascertaining their spiritual needs as I did the need for the llamas to be returned to their home?  Do I ever stop to remember the extravagant price Jesus paid to rescue His lost sheep, including me?  May God grant me His insight to recognizing lost “sheep” as well as lost llamas!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Learning to Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

I’ve always learned a great deal about our Lord from His creation, through gardening, hiking, and animals. Recently, God revealed an interesting analogy to me using my dog Sheila who is 14 years old.

She’s an Australian Shepherd, one of the best dogs I have ever owned, and a true companion. She is deaf and partially blind now and her hips have been causing her pain and stiffness so that climbing the stairs of our home has become a painful and slow process. So for about the last year my husband has been carrying her up the stairs to our bedroom most nights.

Initially she would struggle and fight being carried and thankfully Bob, a big strong guy, was able to manage her so she didn’t fall or bring him down with her! Over the months her struggling became less and less until, finally, she barely struggles at all.

I’ve realized learning to rest in the Lord is very similar. Resting requires time and opportunity.

It took Sheila time and many trips up the stairs in Bob’s arms before she realized she was safe and didn’t have to struggle against Bob. We need time and opportunity with God holding us in His everlasting arms (Deut. 33:27) before we realize that we are safest in His arms.

When you find yourself struggling against God, take a moment and reflect on previous opportunities where God carried you. Then ask yourself, why are you struggling this time? He carried you safely before and He will carry you safely again.

So, exhale and rest. Rest quietly in His arms.