Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fearsome Fearfulness

"The angel of the Lord encamps around
those who fear Him, and He delivers them." 
~ Psalm 24:7

Wedged in among the day's news features was a story that immediately begged my attention.  In the Pacific Northwest, tales of bears and wolves are anything but novel.  Some are delivered in the form of human interest ~ the funny, or clever, or near-harrowing renderings of this encounter or that.  Others, like this one, remind us that nature often bears its fangs.

Before delving into the details, I studied the photo.  Surely the death of 176 bleating sheep came about by way of something utterly sinister or fierce?   Surely some plague set upon them?   Surely these particular sheep were somehow inferior to all other sheep in terms of their health or stamina? 

In truth, all but three of these 176 died of fear ~ fear engendered by two lone wolves.    

Fear.  It's a reaction with a price far higher than, perhaps, we can know or calculate.   What's more, it's a condition that extends well beyond the fearing one to others in proximity.   

There's a point, a pondering, a parable in all of this.  

"A southeastern Idaho ranch lost 176 sheep
as the animals ran in fear from two wolves
that chased through the herd of about
2,400 animals ... ". 
Sheep and sheep-life are common themes for the believer.  God's word is chocked full of them.  We are given to understand the concepts of the shepherd, sheepfold, bellwether, crooks/staffs, hireling, pastures, wandering, and the like.  We get that goats might graze alongside.  

Yet for all we get, there remains those stealthy things that stampede the heart & the thought-life.  Thus, in this story I am reminded again that fear may well be the worst of the undoings of sheep, not to mention the believer ~ a close kin in God's spiritual ecology.
Who or what is chasing, or threatening in my life?   And what is my inclination in the handling of it?
"This is my command—
be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
~ Joshua 1:9
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want...
Even 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." 
~ Psalm 23:1, 6
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the
midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents
and innocent as doves." 
~ Matthew 10:16
"I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."  
~ John 10:11
"I am leaving you with a gift—
peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid."
~ John 14:27


Maryann said...

There have been times in my life that I have been paralyzed by fear and I have always found that the only thing that chases fear away is the Word of God. I really appreciate the scriptures you have included, I'll be marking them for future reference. What a photo...I love the analogy...Thanks Kathleen

Denise said...

Thought provoking post, bless you.

Cheryl Barker said...

I am so thankful we have the Good Shepherd watching over us!

Renee Regnier said...

This was important for my heart today! Thank you!

Debbie Petras said...

I remember reading a book about sheep some years ago. We are so like sheep. We'd run over a hill and fall or turn on our backs and can't get up. Thank goodness for our Shepherd. But yes, the wolves love to disrupt things for the sheep. I think I'll stick close by my Shepherd.

Blessings and love,

Sonja Goodson said...

So often you are 'reading my mind'... today is no exception! One of my lifetime favorite verses is Joshua 1:9... I never seem to NOT need it! :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Just the prod I need this morning. So very powerful.

Sharon said...

A message I took to heart as I am prone to being a spiritual *scaredy-cat* (or perhaps a sheepish sheep???)

Fear is my worst enemy, and the devil uses many tactics to get those anxious and worry darts deep into my heart. Lord, give us protection from the devouring lion, and shield us from the little foxes that seek to spoil the vine.


Peggy said...

This was very interesting to me as my husband and I are raising sheep on a little farm. we only have around 20. thank goodness we don't live in an area of bears or wolves. We hear an occasional coyote but we have 2 guard dogs so all is well so far. What a tragedy though. I love sheep. they are docile and peaceful but they do get afraid easily because they have no way to defend themselves from predators.

Just a little something from Judy said...

For some reason I was thinking that you were taking a blogging break and you cannot imagine how thrilled I was to see that you in fact, did not. I spent the last minutes reading through everyone of your last posts, reading each word, looking at all the pictures, and feeling the tears as I did. You pulled me right in, you touched my heart, you led me to commit in a new way to pray for you and your beautiful family. Whether it was the "fear factor", the Goliath, or the praise factor after Molly's all spoke to me in a real way. I am blessed to know you and inspired by your faith and rest in our Sovereign God. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

Your new blog look is so colorful and attractive! I loved the pictures of your family in their growing up years.