In July I was blessed to go to Norway. While we were there we took a 3-hour kayaking excursion in the town of Flam on the Aurlandsfijord. The tall rocky cliffs, green pastures and waterfalls were spectacular but there was something even more beautiful waiting for me on that adventure. Our itinerary left out one important piece of information. We were to wear appropriate shoes so we could hike to a waterfall. With a bad knee from two surgeries, I did not think a hike on slippery rocks in flip-flops would be a wise move.
I chose to sit on the rocky shore of the fjord and soak in the beauty while the rest of the group did the short hike. About eight sheep grazed in the foliage near me and the ringing of the bells around some of their necks drew my attention to them. One of them was so dirty looking. It had an almost grey look to it, like it was covered in a layer of dirt. As the sheep grazed, the dirty one wandered away from the rest to see what was in our kayaks. As it wandered away, the biggest sheep started making a “bah” sound as if trying to call the rough and ragged looking sheep back.
After a bit, the greyish sheep wandered closer to the edge of the water and began eating what looked like dead wet grass and garbage. I sat there thinking why would the sheep want to eat what looked like slop when there was a beautiful patch of grass that the other sheep seemed to be happy eating.
The dirty rough and ragged looking sheep reminded me of the prodigal son that left behind his family and went out into the world. At one point the prodigal son found himself eating pig slop. I sat quietly wishing the sheep would go back to the others because there was something much better than what it was eating. The big sheep continued to call out to it and it got louder and louder but the dirty sheep would not move.
When the calls of the big sheep fell on deaf ears, it left the other sheep and went to that greyish-colored sheep to bring it back to the herd. Tears trickled down my cheeks as I watched it unfold before my eyes.
Luke 15:4 (NLT) says, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?” Just like a shepherd, the big sheep left the herd to go after the one that had left. The wandering sheep was led to where the grass was good to eat. When the little grey sheep was back with the herd, the big sheep stood with its head held high and let out some of the loudest bah’ing sounds. It was as if it was celebrating that the little sheep had come back. It made me think of the father who celebrated when the prodigal son returned home.
As I sat along the shore of the fjord, I found peace in my heart because I know that the Good Shepherd, Jesus, will go after the ones that are lost and that one day they too will return home. I might have missed the waterfall but what God had for me in that moment was amazing.
There may be people in your life who have wandered away much like the prodigal son or that little grey sheep. I want to encourage you to never give up hope for them. Pray for them without ceasing. Pray with expectation and trust that the Good Shepherd will bring them home.
Kim is the creator of Heartfelt Ramblings of a Midlife Domestic goddess and is also a monthly contributor for the Whatever Girls Ministry. Websites: www.heartfeltramblings.com and www.thewhatevergirls.com