“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep” (John 10:11 NLT).
A few months ago my husband Lee purchased a momma goat that had just given birth to two babies. While googling the internet on how to raise goats, I ran across an article addressing ‘how to care for sheep’. Turns out, the smallest [runt] lamb, resulting from a set of twins or triplets often gets rejected by its’ mother. If the mother ewe doesn’t produce enough milk for all her newborns, the smallest one is neglected. Needing surplus nutrients and attention, the tiny offspring becomes a ‘bummer lamb’.
These malnourished bummer lambs—ones fed, nurtured, and reared entirely or partially away from their natural mother require special comfort. Unless the shepherd or another farmhand intervenes, the bummer dies. Fortunately, bummers find acceptance with certain mother ewes and are able to graft-in. Ideally, afterbirth from another newborn wrapped around the bummer emits odors and smells similar to the momma’s own baby lamb.
Yeanlings unable to cohabit with surrogates must receive attention and nourishment elsewhere. When this happens, many times the sheepherder’s family takes the little bummer into their home. Treating the darling pet like a favored child, it becomes part of the family. After a while, the bummer lamb gains strength and returns to the regular flock. Continuing my research on sheep, I read a book entitled ‘Honestly’ by Sheila Walsh. Having grown up in Scotland and knowledgeable about sheep, Sheila relates easily to the whole concept of bummer lambs.
The well-known Christian author, singer, and minister, Sheila unashamedly admits her shortcomings. She said, “I’ll always be a bummer lamb. If the Good Shepherd had not found me, I would have perished. And, I need daily nourishment that only a Heavenly Father can give.” To be honest with you, like Ms. Walsh, I’m a bummer lamb too. Hallelujah! You?
Late in life, I came to realize only God mends broken hearts. Each day now, He gently draws me close showering compassionate and incomparable love. I find His yoke irresistibly easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30). When I’m weak He carries and embraces me until we become one. Then my famished soul drinks from the fountain of living waters. Perchance, fear and rejection screams, I willfully meditate on His great mercy and how it will pursue me all the days of my life. Even when the darkest evil looms insurmountable, I will not be afraid for His spirit within me cannot die “The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1 NLT).