Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
TITLE: A Sheep's Tale
By Sharlyn Guthrie
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That’s how I lost my footing and landed on the ledge,
entangled in the briars, held fast by doubt and fear.
The Shepherd called with ardor. I pretended not to hear.
The enemy approached me dressed boldly in sheep clothes.
I smelled his acrid odor and glimpsed his pointed nose.
His raspy voice implored me to view the grassy glen
where lively lambs romped blithely outside his wild wolf den.
The slopes were too confining. I yearned to kick my heels.
I ventured to the valley to learn how freedom feels.
I went just for a visit. I never planned to stay.
The enemy enticed me with his lies along the way.
The Shepherd kept on calling and I started to look up,
but the enemy entreated me to drink from pleasure’s cup.
The last of my resistance dissolved before my eyes.
Pleasure dulled my senses, silencing the Shepherd’s cries.
The valley was more dismal than it seemed from up above.
I missed the Shepherd’s surety and his tender words of love.
But how could I return to Him? The climb was rough and steep,
and I’d surely face the judgment of the other mountain sheep.
Then I fell into a pit and sunk deep into the slime.
The walls were high, and wet, and slick …too difficult to climb.
Others sneered and scoffed at me. My wool was foul and torn.
Nights were filled with terror, and days with cruel scorn.
There my shepherd found me, in that lonely, shameful place.
He reached down through the muck and drew me into his embrace.
At the stream he healed my spirit and washed me clean and pure.
On the rock-hard path of righteousness he set my feet, secure.
My rescue cost a hefty price I found out, to my shame.
The wounds my shepherd suffered left deep scars that bore my name.
Still, he held a celebration when at last I reached the fold.
He will do the same for you. That is why this tale was told.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2 (NIV)
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