Do you know how complicated it is for a sheep to actually lie down? Four basic requirements need to be met.
1) Sheep will only lie down if there are no predators. There can’t be any salivating wolves or sly cougars lurking. A sheep will even refuse to lie down if it’s just suspicious that a predator is lurking! It certainly is a difficult arrangement for a sheep to be emotionally solid enough to lie down! And that’s not even the only box that needs to be checked off.
2) Sheep will also only lie down if they are free from tension with other sheep within their flock. Another difficult arrangement! Sheep are like people, and default mode is to use their strength to overpower and trample others in the group. If there’s any tension, they won’t lie down.
3) Sheep will only lie down if there are no parasites or bothersome insects causing them trouble. We all know how hard it can be to find a place outdoors where you can be sure there won’t be any annoying insects.
4) And lastly, sheep will only lie down if they are not hungry. Like the other categories, that’s also more challenging than you might think. Green pastures don’t usually appear out of thin air. Sheep can’t do one single thing in order to solve their hunger issues. And yet, they won’t lie down unless they are without hunger.
The Bible calls us sheep. What does it take for you to calm down and have a peaceful heart? In order for us to have peaceful souls, let’s admit it – we are high maintenance. We are easily spooked and easily annoyed. We deal with fears, both real and imagined. It’s hard for us to stay content. And when we can’t lie down, there’s nothing we can muster up within ourselves to make us be at peace.
We need outside help. We need a Good Shepherd.
Even though we are so needy, our gracious Savior Jesus is not scared off. He isn’t frustrated or annoyed. He isn’t DONE being our Shepherd. If anything, he sees our helplessness, and he is more motivated than ever. He doesn’t run away from needy sheep who can’t calm down. He runs toward us.
Enjoy the details involved in this simple sentence explaining what Jesus has done for you: he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
Savior, I’m only a sheep and I need you to be my Good Shepherd. When I am afraid, protect me, and give me your confidence. When I am frustrated by others, love me through it, and give me your forgiveness to share. When I am bothered by things outside my control, help me stay patient, and bring me your relief at the right time. And when I hunger for righteousness, satisfy me with your perfect love. Thank you, Savior, for taking such good care of me. What an honor it is to be one of your sheep! Amen.