A member of a tourist group noticed a shepherd carrying food to one of his sheep. He was very curious and asked, “What happened? Is one of your sheep having problems?”
“Yes,” came the reply. “I have a sheep with a broken leg.”
“What happened? Did he fall over a cliff? Did an animal bite him?” he asked.
“Oh, no,” said the shepherd. “I broke it.”
“My goodness,” said the tourist. “You broke your sheep’s leg on purpose? I thought that shepherds loved their sheep more than anything else. I’ve even heard stories about shepherds searching for a lost sheep all night long. How could you do such a thing? Were you angry? Don’t you love your sheep?”
“Of course I love my sheep,” replied the shepherd. “That’s why I broke its leg. This was a ‘wayward’ sheep. When it strayed from the flock it led other sheep with it. Something had to be done to preserve the life of this sheep and to prevent it from leading other sheep astray. I broke its leg and reset it to teach it obedience. Now, it waits for me to feed it and eats out of my hand. It will never leave me again and will stay by my side. Finally, it is obedient.”
There was a Psalmist who must have had an experience like the sheep in this story. In writing of his experience he said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your voice.” Suffering has a purpose.
Prayer: No one likes to hurt, Lord. Yet, we ask that You do whatever is necessary to keep us close to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.