Thursday 21 November 2019

One Important Lesson my Pup Taught me About the Good Shepherd

Meet Ollie our newest family member. Today Ollie taught me a little thing about shepherding. You see, Ollie is an Australian Shepherd and was born to herd animals. She has quickly become familiar with who her pack/herd/flock/whatever you want to call her family around here.

Today my son, Asher, and I took Ollie for one of her daily walks. About halfway through our walk Asher wasn’t feeling super, let’s just say that walking in snow pants and boots when you are only four years old tires out a guy pretty quickly! Rather than fight the boy’s need to sit every 5 steps, I decided to take a shortcut home. He was relieved to be out of his multiple layers of winter gear, I was relieved to be able to pick up the pace, and so I left him in the care of his two big sister to finish running the dog.

As we left our home for our walk-part-2 it became evident that Ollie was in distress. She kept pulling at her leash in the opposite direction to me. After much frustration, on both our parts, she sat down and refused to budge. I proceeded to ask her what was wrong, because, if you have pets, naturally you assume they will respond in english. “Well Sarah, I feel as though our vision for this outing is not currently compatible…oooo!! ooOO!!! KITTY!!” 

That’s not exactly how it went down, but she did jump at my legs and try to pull me towards home. Close enough, am I right?! I’m sure I broke every obedience training lesson in the book, but curiosity got the best of me and I’m glad it did! 

I let her lead ever so slightly to see where she would take me. She led me across the road, down the block, and right up our sidewalk. I opened the door and she ran in searching for Asher. When she found him she sat down beside him, look at me, and sighed with a huge sigh of contentment knowing she was right where she needed to be. Tail wags and a face wash for the boy followed.

Her shepherding instinct was so strong that after we dropped off Asher she recognized one of us was missing and she needed to find him and ensure we were all safely back together. Her desire to be with him outweighed her desire for a good walk. Together was better, whatever the cost.

As I thought of how diligently Ollie fought to turn back to get to Asher I thought of our own Good Shepherd. Not just once but twice do we get to hear the parable of the lost sheep, once in Matthew 18, and again in Luke 15. 

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matt 18:12-14)

The fight that my young pup had to get back to her “lost sheep” was nothing compared to the fight from God for the lost. While my pup was willing to give up her precious walk to be together, the Good Shepherd was willing to give up his life. Together is better, whatever the cost. 

Today Ollie gave me a tiny dog-sized visual of the deep love our Father has for us, His sheep. Nothing and no one can distract Him from us, nothing and no one can persuade Him away from us, nothing and no one can use enough brute force to pull us away from Him. What hope we can have for our lost loved ones knowing that God is chasing down His missing sheep. What rest and comfort we can find in our own lives knowing we can lay down and be securely tucked away in the protection of God’s presence. Together is always better.