The reflection from the pool shows a rotund sheep with thick white wool that would bring a fetching sum in any market in the world. The wool shines like white pearls as a result of hours of painstaking brushing and grooming.

This image is one that always makes my insides skip more than any premium grass would ever do, reason being that I have not always been like this. I used to be dirty, gaunt, haggard and perpetually hungry before becoming the property of Trinity Farms. The outrageous price that was paid to Lucy Farr’s ranch for me still boggles my mind till date. I was not worth that much and even now, I still don’t come close to that price. The change of ownership gave my life a twist for the better.

In my new pastures, I do not want for anything; health, wealth, I have it all.  David Lord, the Chief Shepherd, makes sure I bed in lush meadows. The landscape of my present home has verdant hues that are pleasing to the eyes. The rolling hills on which I gambol are a spread of abundance.The grass grow in a profusion of prosperity. I have all that I need in this idyllic heaven.

The water source in my old place was more of an irate flood than a river. It was the watery grave of my ovine buddies. We would gladly suffer dehydration than risk a drink during the rains. My throat was parched most of the time.Here, the streams along which my Shepherd leads me are peaceful, quiet and still.  The tranquility is what affords me the opportunity to gaze at my beautiful reflection.

The combination of delicious and nutritious grass coupled with the cool water refreshes my life. My strength is always renewed. I am continually revitalized! Rarely do I ever succumb to the myriad of infections that lay waste to the animals in Lucy Farr’s ranch. The Shepherd ensures my soul is promptly restored when my strength diminishes.

Life is fraught with dangers for a sheep. Predators seek me for lamb chops. The dangers of breaking a neck or a limb through falls into ravines and gullies constantly dog my heels. Like someone said, it is a jungle out there! However, my Shepherd guides me along the right paths. This is absolutely huge for me since all it takes for destruction is one step in the wrong direction.

Now I have to be honest, there is something intrinsically rebellious about me. I am flawed, greedy and selfish. Some people say I am not the most intelligent animal in the world. Despite all that I enjoy, a bit of me is still restless. I loved my freedom and hated being constantly corralled in.

Down in the valley below my home was a patch of green field with the most luscious looking grass I had ever seen in my life. The grass on the other side looked greener, fresher, and sweeter than the here. It was an emerald enticement that tortured my senses, made my mouth water even in my dreams. I knew I must have a taste of the green delight that continually called out to me. It was too much temptation!

One night I got the opportunity to indulge my longing when I was able to find a way out through a hole in the fence a careless staff did not close. Heart pumping with excitement at the prospect of tucking into my gastronomic dreams, I skipped down into the valley.

To my disappointment, I found out the soil was parched and arid. The grass was brown and brittle. I had been deceived by the play of light, misled by a mirage. With a heavy heart, I turned to make my way back to the mountain top. That was when I noticed that the valley was filled with menacing shadows. Out of the dark came the howling of a pack of wolves. Luminous eyes full of malevolence suddenly surrounded me. Every bit of wool on my body stood on end and I felt the frosty hands of fear creep up and chill my spine. Even though winter still had some time before making its grand appearance, I became very cold and started to shiver. In the shadows of the valley lurked death.

My pitiful bleats filled the valley as my predators slunk out of the shadows. Their snarling grins mocked me, daring me to escape. I started to run but was quickly surrounded by my enemies with my back to the mountain. In my trapped state, I saw one of the contract staff, a hired hand start to run down to help but when he saw the danger he ran for dear life.

It was at this point, that David Lord appeared on the dark horizon. He saw my plight and shouted “Skip, hold on, I am coming”! The shout distracted the wolves but it was still too late! The shortest way downhill was through a thicket of bramble with thorns as sharp as spears. Before he makes his way round, I would have become kebab in the mouth of the growling beasts.

To my surprise, he plunged right through the thorns, leaving bits of clothes, flesh and a trail of blood behind.  The closest wolf chose this moment to attack. As it lunged, its rank breath filled my senses.  When trying to clamp its jaws on my right leg, my Shepherd used the crook of his staff to violently pull me away.  However, I got some nasty gashes that nearly crippled me. He drew me to his side and used his rod to deliver a mighty blow that I’m sure cracked the beast’s skull. The raging fire of terror within me was put off by the cool waters of his presence.  I do not fear evil anymore, he is with me.

Then he went at the rest with terrible fury, hitting, swiping, knocking, lunging, and smashing. His rod and his staff saved and gave me comfort. Before my eyes, he became a lion prowling the Judea hills to my feral foes. I had never seen him this full of rage before, his wrath was something to behold. I realized that it was because they had hurt me, the apple of his eye.  The wolves fled into the shadows licking their wounds but we could still feel their hate-filled eyes on us. As usual, my Shepherd came prepared with his bag. He prepared food for me, a veritable sumptuous feast while the beasts watched.  He ministered to my wounds, thoroughly groomed, massaged and anointed me with sweet smelling oil to keep bugs and parasites away. Then my cup was filled with the sweet brew he makes especially for us lambs. David Lord kept filling the cup until it ran over. I drank to my fill telling myself that I am the most blessed lamb in the world!

I could not keep my eyes off him; torn up, bruised, lacerated and still attending to me. The thorns had done a dreadful number on him and there was neither form nor comeliness for him to be desired. Yet, not once did he make me feel it was my fault. Guilt drenched my soul like heavy rain.

He took me home and showed me all the goodness and unfailing loving kindness that Trinity farms had to offer even to an errant lamb like me. Due to my injuries, he took me out of the field and into his house, prepared a special place for me in his bedroom to dwell without end.

Our fellowship has grown over time and since I am devotedly his, I hear his voice loud and clear and follow him. One evening, after seeing the horrendous scars left by the thorns, I asked in a bleat why he put himself in harm’s way for me. He told me, but I still find his words unfathomable though they echo endlessly in the chambers of my heart….

“I am the good Shepherd; the good shepherd gives his life for his sheep.”

© 2013 Ekpo Ezechinyere

5 thoughts on “A SHEPHERD’S LOVE….

  1. Great interpretation of psalm 23 and you stil managed to bring in the wounds and pains he suffered at the hands of the Roman soldiers. The bit I like most though is that we don’t deserve the price He paid for us. Thank you Lord Jesus, no hireling can ever do what you did. Good job Da King!


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