To say my sheep love the taste of pine needles would be an understatement. They literally pine for pine, gazing up at branches just out of their reach like lovesick school girls gazing at their first crushes. There’s a wonderful book by Suzanne Clothier called, If a Dog’s Prayers Were Answered…Bones Would Rain from the Sky. Likewise, a deluge of falling pine needles would be my ewe lambs' answered prayer.
And so, I’ve taken to bending a branch or two in the mornings for the sheep to graze. It makes my heart happy to be their rainmaker.
The thing that struck me about this video is the way Thérèse makes abundantly clear her objet d'affection. She beelined for those branches, then stopped and longingly looked up. She knew what she wanted was beyond the limits of her size and ability and hopelessly out of her grasp. So she did the next best thing. She looked around for help. She looked for me.
I think we all know what it means to “look up” with longing. We have a need, a desire—a prayer—that we trust God can answer and so we tilt our faces toward Heaven and whisper the details of all that we’re pining for. Save a rare flash of enlightenment, there’s typically no instant gratification that rains down from the sky. I used to find that drought of miracles maddening, but I don’t anymore. Maybe that’s because I’ve discovered that oftentimes, God places people in our midst to act as his agents of love, mercy, wisdom, and provision. I’ve learned not to just “look up” — but to look around too.
In the Book of Exodus (17:11-13), when the Israelites were under attack, Moses assisted Joshua in the fight by holding up the staff of God in his hands. “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. When whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army.”
Moses had his human limits. He could only do what he could do. But with the help his good friends and compatriots who acted as agents of God and lifted him up, an entire army was defeated!
By all means, let’s first look up. But then—let’s look around. Maybe that “unanswered” prayer, that deep longing, that army of grief, pain, loneliness, or problems we’re up against, is just waiting to be answered or overcome through someone (or many) whom God has intentionally placed in our midst to lift us up. As members of One Body in Christ, we exist for the sole purpose of loving and helping one another onward...and upward.
The Book of Proverbs (11:25) holds a beautiful promise: The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.
Indeed, what God promises is that each of us, in Christ, can be rainmakers in our own way. May it all be for His glory.