Reading the Word
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which Thou has broken rejoice.
Reflecting on the Word
Occasionally a sheep will develop a habit of going astray. Every evening when the shepherd counts the flock he finds the same sheep missing. Night after night, he goes seeking the lost animal. After this has occurred several times, the shepherd will once more go out to find the sheep, but this time before carrying it back to the field, he will break its leg. Back in the fold the shepherd makes a splint for the shattered leg and, during the days that follow, he carries that crippled sheep close to his heart. As the leg begins to mend, the shepherd sets the sheep down by his side. To the crippled animal, the smallest stream looms like a giant river, the tiniest knoll rises like a mountain. The sheep depends completely on the shepherd to carry it across the terrain. After the leg has healed the sheep has learned a lesson: It must stay close to the shepherd’s side.
Many feel that it is an act of cruelty for the shepherd to break the leg of a poor, defenseless sheep. It seems hardhearted, almost vicious, until you understand the shepherd’s heart. Then you realize that what seems to be cruelty is really kindness. The shepherd knows that the sheep must remain close to him if it is to be protected from danger. So he breaks its leg, not to hurt it, but to restore it.
Responding to the Word
Lord you know I’m such a stupid sheep.
I worry about all sorts of things
Whether I’ll find grazing land
still cool water
a fold at night
in which I can feel safe.
I only find troubles, want, loss.
I turn aside from You to plan my rebel way.
I go astray.
I follow other shepherds
even other stupid sheep.
Then when I end up on some dark mountain
cliffs before, wild animals behind
I start to bleat Shepherd Shepherd
find me save me or I die.
And you do.
Psalms of My Life