Brambles was consumed with anger as he marched off into the night. He was fuming over the way his righteous family was trying to “help” him again.
He huffed up the beaten path thinking, “They don’t know anything! I don’t need them or the Shepherd! I’ve got friends who think I’m wonderful and fun to be around. Forget them all!”
His father had died at the mouths of hungry wolves when Bramble was very young. Brambles had a hard time dealing with the loss and turned bitter and resentful over the years. Everyone said that he was a lot like his father, always going his own way – the wrong way.
Just moments ago, his mom had said to him, “You’re looking for gold in a pile of manure!”
Brambles let out a big angry huff, “Well what did she know anyway? She was always at the Shepherd’s feet, always praising Him, and teaching others how to follow Him!”
He loved his mom, but she just didn’t understand his need for attention and how he just wanted to have a good time. “Oh, forget them all!” he said, as he trod along feeling sorry for himself - filled with overwhelming misery.
Suddenly, he heard the distant sound of thunder and few drops of rain tickled his nose. His scowl grew deeper. “Oh! Just great! All I need is a stupid storm!” he thought to himself.
The ground grew muddy under him and he lost his footing a couple of times, but he kept going down the path with determination. The thunder grew louder and more violent; the rain came down in torrents. Lightening struck a tall tree causing him to jump with fear. His heart began beating fast as he realized the storm was stronger than he first believed.
He thought of the Forbidden Pasture that lay on the other side of the hill. So many delights awaited him there! The thought gave him the courage to move steadily onward.
Before long, he came up on the most treacherous part of the path; it was steep, rocky and narrow. He always got a thrill out of this part of the path. He laughed with his friends and danced along the path recklessly and loved how they admire him for his bravery.
He briefly wondered where they were now. They were supposed to meet him tonight, but he hadn’t seen them and it was apparent they were not going to venture out into the storm.
“Oh well,” he thought, “maybe they had something more important to do.”
Brambles was half-way up the hill when he felt the ground tremble with thunder. Tiny rocks started rolling down the hillside hitting him as they bounced along. He tried not to think of the danger, but it was getting really scary and he was trembling. What if he died up here? Would anyone even care? His mom would care he thought grudgingly. She always cared, even if he was bad and not like the other precious sheep.
He was so deep in thought he didn’t notice a part of the path had washed away until he stepped out in mid-air. He felt himself falling in slow motion. Down, down, down…
His mom’s teaching popped into his mind, “Remember Brambles, if you ever find yourself in deep trouble, make sure you call out for the Shepherd. He will save you.”
With his very last breath, before hitting the bottom of the ravine, he yelled into the wind and rain “Save me Shepherd! Please! I am so sorry!”
He felt gentle hand reach out and grab him from death’s mighty grip. He looked up into the tender, loving eyes of the Shepherd. He felt the warmth spread through his entire body, he wasn’t afraid nor miserable anymore. His heart beat a steady rhythm of calmness – yet he felt exhilarated! As the Shepherd carried him back home, he slowly closed his eyes to rest.
Brambles awoke to a beautiful, sunny day. He heard the cheers of the other lambs as they all gathered around him to welcome him home. Wow! They were all so happy he had survived; their emotion took him by surprise. He greeted them with a true feelings of love and thankfulness.
Finally, Brambles looked around for his mother. He spotted her with the Shepherd and skipped happily to where they sat.
“Mom!” he yelled, “I finally have a real father!”
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