I’ve been taking a break from blogging to "seek the things that are above” (Col: 3:1-2) during lambing season and the week leading up to Easter. It felt right to take time to celebrate the twin miracles of new life and Resurrection with the preparation, wonder, and awe they deserve. After all, they share plenty of common ground.
Going into our inaugural lambing season, we prepared ourselves extensively but we still didn’t really know what to expect or how things would actually turn out. Would the births go smoothly for our four maiden ewes? Would we get all seven lambs safely on the ground? Would their world (that is, their mommas) be welcoming and nurturing? Would they live? Would they thrive? Would Shepherd Ed and I rebound from our nerve-wracked, sleep-deprived, 168-hour lamb watch (and our petty quarreling in a cold barn at 2 am)? Our lambing experience was full of highs and lows, eagerly anticipated, yet fraught with uncertainly and anxiety. I personally felt a huge responsibility to get things right and not knowing what was around the bend was somewhat daunting.
As it happened, one of our lambs (the 2nd twin boy) needed to be pulled. Our vet was on the way to assist our distressed ewe, but urgency took a sharp turn into crisis. With no time to spare, Shepherd Ed — who had schooled himself on difficult birth presentations — rose to the occasion and amid my whispered prayers, delivered the lamb like a seasoned pro. That pivotal moment confirmed that just like our little lambs blindly racing alongside the barn, one never knows what lies just around the corner, in lambing season or in life. Fortunately, Ed was a Boy Scout. To "be prepared" is second nature to him. According to the founder of that boy scout motto, being prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”
All this got me thinking.
Although Jesus tried to prepare his disciples, telling them that “the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22), not one of them really knew what to expect or how things would actually turn out. Would everything go as God had planned? What would happen to their world once their Master was gone? Would they live? Would they thrive? The intense highs and and lows of the last three years had left them alternately elated, exhausted, anxious, and afraid. They were tapped out. Hiding (and probably quarreling) in an Upper Room. And entirely unsure of what was around the corner.
Yet...they maintained a state of readiness in mind and body (and spirit) to do their duty. And what was their duty?
To pray and to believe that nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).
I know from experience (and likely so do you) that life doesn’t always go as planned. I’ve turned corners and just like in the video above, run into roadblocks and dead-ends. Life on a farm with animals (and lambing season!) is exponentially more unpredictable. As the ewes began their labors, I offered my anxieties to the Good Shepherd, who gave me this word from the Book of Job (12:10):
“In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.”
I felt a huge sense of relief as I pondered this biblical truth: The life of every living thing is in the hands of the Lord — including the lives of every animal (and human!) on our farm. I needed this stark reminder that, well…I’m not God. I’m not the author/creator of life. I can only do my (human) best to pray, prepare for, and do everything in my power to support a healthy and happy lambing season. The outcomes, however, are up to the One who gives life and breath—the One who, as promised, rose from the dead and in doing so testified that nothing (in heaven, on earth, or in the lambing barn!) is impossible with God. I thought to myself: If God wants each, any one, or all of these lambs to be born alive and well, there was 100% chance they would be. I prepared my heart for whatever God wanted. Even if the result was different than what I wanted or expected, God would also make it possible for me to accept it.
As my Christian duty, I'll continue to hope, pray, persevere, and prepare for whatever may be around the corner—on our farm, in lambing seasons to come, and in life. But there’s freedom and peace in believing that just as God raised Jesus on the third day, He makes all things possible, and all things new, according to His divine will. Our springtime lambs are just one of many signs of the "new life" Jesus won for us by his Cross and Resurrection. Come to think of it, the way of the Cross is full of twists and turns and sharp corners, isn't it? But it's also incredibly full of grace.
I think it's worth noting that while our bouncy little lambs turned the corner and met with a roadblock on the back side of the barn, it didn’t affect their lightness of being one bit. They stopped. They regrouped. And with a spring in their steps, resumed their great adventure in the big pasture. I think we can all take a little lesson from the lambs:
Don’t let the corners frighten or discourage you. God knows what's around the bend.
And He's already there.