The scorched expanse of our life-weary existence is in need of something. Whether it be depression, discouragement, selfishness, gossip, envy or pride; what do you let in?
Something seemingly small can be deadly.
He was a young child, barely six when the family decided to gather and reunite with long lost cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. The farm house in Nebraska could handle all of them. The children were shepherded to the basement to their sleeping bags for the evening. After all the giggles and jokes subsided, the children fell deep into sleep. A tiny beetle made its way into the one child’s unsuspecting ear canal and immediately jolted him out of sleep. His screams awakened all the other children as he ran up the stairs to find his mother. Confusion, pain, the scampering and clawing of those tiny beetle feet in a place they should never be.
When he calmed down enough, through sobs he explained there had to be a bug in his ear. No one believed him, yet he knew it. It was driving him mad. The torture, the unbelief, the exasperation, exhaustion; he was banging his head as though it was just water in his ear from a long day of swimming, but it was much, much worse. Like claws across a blackboard, the beetle was scampering the soft tissue; frightened and near insanity, he gave in.–After the adults found a children’s cold medicine to soothe him and his mother lay by his side, wiping his forehead with a cool cloth, she whispered prayers to his tormented heart.
It was just minutes after the child lay down, temporarily calmed by the medicine and the willing of his mother that she became the sole witness to the departure of the tiny beetle; which she instantly killed.
“You prepare a table in front of me, in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5)
To anoint usually means to set apart as special—like a gift to God. It also is a term often used in healing.
Back in the day, a shepherd was one of the lowliest of professions (not that it has gained much since!), but it was a dirty job. Working the night shift, tending those stupid animals, defending those silly sheep against thieves, robbers, predators; trying to herd them, protect them, and keep them safe. The tiniest of threats could actually kill a sheep. The nasal fly. That tiny pest could get inside the nostrils of the sheep, lay its eggs which developed into worms and eventually would drive the sheep to the point of banging its head against something to “get it out!” which most commonly lead to its (insanity!) and death.
I can’t even stand one bug buzzing about my ear, let alone it taking up camp in my nostrils and enlarging its family. Ugh.
A good shepherd would anoint the sheep’s head with oil (laced with some other healing ointments). These oils kept the flies from entering into the nostrils and ultimately protected the sheep from the tormentor that would make them “off” themselves.
The song “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns states it so eloquently—“people never crumble in a day.”
Innocence blurs the lines of what we allow into our hearts and minds through our eyes, ears and societal influence. Also, as parents, friends, leaders, servants and human beings all subjected to these things, we are setting examples, leaving legacies and always being scrutinized for our choices. Check out a few of the verses:
“Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow
Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see”
(some lyrics from Casting Crown’s “Slow Fade”)
Our Father looking down on us with love; forgiving for those “not-so-wise” choices we made.
And our Good Shepherd who anoints and protects our souls with the blood He shed on the cross. He has set us apart. When we are weary, rest is found in Him. When we weep, He comforts. When we are weak, He is our strength. When we thirst or hunger, He is our bubbling water of life and our manna for the day.
Today, I pray that no-thing is able to put a bug in your ear to distract you from seeking the Good Shepherd. I pray that no harm come near your home. I pray that nothing, no height nor depth, no demons or mean people, no distance, no depression, no death nor divorce shall ever separate you from the healing, anointing love that is found only in our Good Shepherd.