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Saturday, April 28, 2012

THE WANDERING SHEEP

THE WANDERING SHEEP
Gloria Phifer

            The path was worn and familiar as I followed closely behind the sheep of our flock.
            I wandered off the path to sample a wild bush. The sage was so inviting. New experiences beaconed to me as I ventured forth. The bleeding of the other sheep became distant, but I hardly noticed.
            With the pleasantness of the day, time stood still. I followed the brush, grazing and experiencing the taste. Having my fill, I raised my head to find I was alone. I had wandered far from the flock. My direction was confused. I was lost in the wild sage.
I stumbled over rocks protruding through the brush. I had not noticed them before; I had been so intent on the wild sage. The further I ventured the brush became thorny. Briers stuck in my wool. Every time I took a step I found pain from the briers. My hoof sank into the brush and I felt a thicket closing in.  No matter how much I pulled and struggled I was caught in the underbrush. I stood helpless, shaking, fearful and confused.
            For the first time I heard the howl of a wolf and all the sounds of the wild rushed upon my senses. I was helpless, a prey for any enemy. The sun was sinking in the west. Soon the animals of the night would be stalking. I fought to be loose from my bondage but only felt more pain.  The darkness of the night fell upon me.
            There was a crunching in the brush, something was coming near. I jerked my hoof, fighting desperately to be free. The sound came closer. I struggled fearfully. Loneliness and dread enveloped me. I was helpless.
            I turned my body to face my assailant. Relief flowed warmly through my cold veins.  There kneeling before me was my Shepherd.  His eyes were warm and caring as He parted the thicket. His touch assured me and fear fled in the warmth of His love. Tenderly He freed me and checked my limbs. He lifted, wrapped me around His shoulders and carried me. He brought me back to the sheepfold.
            I will never wander after wild sage again. I will never leave the Shepherd's side.
I was lost but now I'm found.
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