Yesterday afternoon I grabbed my camera to prove what I saw right in our own front yard:
(well, she's a rescue with an unknown history and I'm an easy mark). Since the November weather was unseasonably beautiful, sunny, and warm, I went to the back porch with Ava and my book. NICE !! I thought, Why don't I do this more often?
Then Ava barked--a lot--at something going on in the hay field. I saw nothing but a neat row of round hay bales our nephew had stacked along the side fence. Uh, wait! Ava and I walked over the the fence for a closer look.
Yes. It was SHEEP. Inside our pasture. A bunch. (s'cuse me: a FLOCK) Actually, about three rams, four ewes, and a few lambkins.
I've never discovered sheep wandering any of the pastures around our farm neighborhood so I ran to the house, grabbed my camera, zoomed in real close, and began shooting digitals as the sheep ambled across our side yard toward the main road.
Nevertheless. When the flock got to our fence at the road...
....not one of the sheep attempted to search for a way out. As one, the flock turned and trotted back up the path from whence they had come and disappeared from sight.
We made some phone calls with no results but on our way to a Community Thanksgiving Worship, we stopped at one farm someone had suggested might be the owners.
Nobody at home!
Later, heading home from church, the Sheriff was on the road in a ginormous truck with a gazillion lights flashing. No sign of the sheep so we assumed the brave deputies had handled the lost flock. At home, our phone was ringing off the wall. The Sheriff's office asked if WE knew who owned the sheep wandering the road and being a menace. How and why did they call me? Nope, not a sheep-herder in the family.
This morning, various neighbors reported sheep sightings up and down our road. The Sheriff's guys returned with reinforcements and apparently herded the sheep into a nearby field leased by a local vet.
On my way to town after lunch, the by-this-time-FAMOUS flock of sheep was in another pasture. When I returned home an hour later on the same road and passed the same pastures, all fields were void of ANY sheep. EMPTY.
But, as I pondered the wanderings, an ancient memory surfaced. I've walked with my Lord over sixty years, and suddenly today I saw the prophet Isaiah's message in chapter 53, verse 6 in a completely new light.
Long, long, VERY long ago (before most of my readers were born), I memorized that passage from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. ("All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.") I assumed I understood the meaning of that passage but I went to Bible Gateway to compare different translations. After closely observing those real-live sheep wander around, lost, thirsty, and hungry, in a strange countryside for more than thirty hours, I meditated a long while on Isaiah 53:6 from The Message.
The phone interrupted my meditation and as I scurried back to real life, a peace that passes all my understanding settled over me as I flitted from one crisis to another.
We still don't know what happened to the flock of lost sheep but my kitchen is ready for Thanksgiving and my heart overflows with a fresh love for my Lord Jesus.
Thank You, Holy Father, for sending lost sheep to show me a clear view.
"...we looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried...he took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him... on HIM."
Some of Isaiah 53-6 from "The Message."
P.S. As an six-year-old Sunbeam in Mrs. Pennington's class, I had no idea that I had no idea what "iniquity" meant.