In the dead of winter, when the pastures are dormant, goats feed on hay and grain. But as Spring nears and the rich green sprigs of vegetation begin to emerge, goats prefer to forage. They scour the landscape nipping every single speck of green they can find.
The other day I had a bright idea to let our Dwarf Nigerian herd out into the Back 10. Now, bear in mind they need a shepherd when they’re released into the Back 10. There’s no Houdini-proof fencing to keep them from walking all over the county, back there. They will walk through a barbed-wire fence like it doesn’t exist. So I was their shepherd, and gladly so. With three nursing does, it warms my heart to give them fresh greens to feast on. They love it. Once they learn the routine, they’re waiting for that gate to open.
But the new kids hang back not sure of the gate. Try as I may to call them, coax them, and herd them they still walk around aimlessly crying because they are on one side of the fence and their Moms (aka: the milk) are grazing on the bigger, nutrient-rich field. Here they are; dumbfounded, dazed, and confused.
I stand at the gate. I call them like a little girl calls a puppy. “Herrrre goaty-goat!” They bleet. I clap my hands to get their attention. They look at me…and bleet. Don’t they see I’m calling them to freedom?? Don’t they see I’m offering the good stuff. They bleet. I call. And several times after that. They run around frantically. They run up and down the fence, looking into the Back 10, but have no idea how to get back there. I offer peace. I offer the way.
And then it hits me.
I’m just like these stupid goats.
Aren’t we all? We run around in a frantic state most every.single.day.
We’re frantic. Are we on the right side of the fence?? Where is peace? Where’s our milk?!?!? Where’s the good stuff?!?! Help!!!
All the while the gentle Shepherd stands patiently waiting.
Clearly offering the way…
He watches as we run around with no real direction or purpose. We run up and down the fence staring directly at peace, but we just can’t seem to cross over.
We can’t even find the gate.
We bleet at the Shepherd and then look at the fence.
We are dumbfounded. Dazed. Confused.
But you know what? Just as I did with these babies, the Shepherd bends low. If we’re listening, if we’re watching, we see Him.
As we trust the Shepherd, one careful, steady step at a time, He truly does lead us to peaceful pastures.
He is the only One who can.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord