The quavering bleat of a sheep is an emotive, vulnerable cry it uses to signal the shepherd. It is a bleat of dependency, a calling out to be rescued and for its needs to be met by another. Ultimately, it is a bleat of faith.

I cry out a lot, but not in the way of a dependent sheep. Usually it is the false cry of a runaway who wants to chart his own course. My cries sound a lot like, Do this, Lord! Do that! Why me? and most revealing of all, Why not them? All of which are known not as bleating, but as whining. Typically, only after my latest cycle of gripes comes to naught, will I run out of energy and finally settle into the quiet of my soul. That’s when I hear a familiar voice, equal parts commanding and comforting, call to me: You’re not the Shepherd. You’re one of My sheep. Get over yourself and follow Me.

The other day I was not over myself. In fact, I was quite in the center of a grumbly mood. To help deflect my self-pity, I began reading the classic fable, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In one notable passage, a thought-provoking question jumped out at me and has been bouncing around in my mind ever since: “If you were the only man on the planet what would there be about you to admire?” Indeed, not particularly much, I thought. And at once the obvious hit me broadside: Most of my complaining pertains to comparing myself with others. Since it is equally hard to connect with those we envy as it is with those we look down upon, a feeling of isolation always follows. And that is right where the wolf wants us. For his diabolical scheme has always been to separate the sheep from the flock. I see that now—that every time I stray, I am alone and vulnerable. I repent!

And now I am, yet again, running full out back to my Shepherd, crying out in trembling voice:

Lord, forgive me.
I remember Whose I am now,
Where I belong.
I am not my own.
I am tired of complaining,
Of comparing myself to others,
Of trying to be a shepherd myself.
You are my Shepherd, Lord.
My problems are no match for You.
My joys all come from You.
I love You.
I run to You.
I am Your sheep.
And proudly, I bleat for You.

I hope this encourages you to call out in dependency on God today.


-Kevin Murray
© 9/15/15 All rights reserved