It’s been hot here in Tennessee. Last week, “real feel” temps reached 107 and 109. Once again today, the thermometer is approaching record-setting triple digits and the dew point screams “holy sheep!”
The lambs have a shed with a super-charged fan inside but they’ve chosen to hunker down under the outdoor tarp instead. Sometimes I question their judgement. But what do I know, I’m just a shepherdess having a horrendous hair day who seems to think that scooping their poop, raking up hay, and cajoling the lambs to gather round for enthusiastic scratches is a good use of my time and energy right now. I’m drooping and dripping and still struggling to breathe (thanks, Covid). But duty calls and I must answer—right???
The sheep cast a watchful eye on me. They’re panting a bit but otherwise laying quite comfortably in the shade as they watch me toil and trouble and bubble with sweat. I glance at them and get the distinct feeling that I’m the one who’s being judged. Silly human, they seem to say, you just don’t know how to be still, do you?
I reluctantly lay down my arms (rake, shovel, broom) and sink my soggy butt onto a little step stool. Thèrése acknowledges my decision with with an adorable sigh. Welcome to the sheepfold, come on in and rest awhile.
I take my cue from these little ewe lambs. Once my heart rate settles, the heat and humidity seem far more tolerable. I can even detect a small breeze that I didn’t even feel before as birdsong drifts into my ears and calms my breathing. Ahhhh. That’s better! There is wisdom in the stillness. The better part of nature. The sweetness of repose and the hope of regeneration.
“Be still and know that I am GOD” is an oft-quoted Bible verse that encourages us to rest in God’s holy presence and sovereignty. But today, I’m thinking more of Exodus 14:14 as Moses enjoined the weary and frightened Israelites fleeing Pharoah’s army: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
I’ve been fighting the elements—the heat, the humidity, post-COVID fatigue, and my natural inclination to push through, to get the job done, to keep everything on the rails. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the sheep are happily hanging out, being still, waiting for the hardship to pass in time. What if instead of insisting on getting all my work done, I allowed the Lord to do the heavy lifting, right here, right now, while I rest and wait and listen and trust?
It occurs to me that by being still, I just might be making room for God to work on this day—and my life—in a totally more awesome and marvelous way than anything I could accomplish by myself. I have laid down my arms. I have surrendered to stillness.
And just as my ewe lambs rest in the sheltering shade, I am feeling peaceful and protected in the mighty shadow of my Savior, who fights for me.
Thank you, little lambs, for the divine inspiration. Holy sheep, indeed!