Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FEET (01/17/19)
TITLE: Anywhere, Anytime
By Jennifer Woodley
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I looked over at Curley and nodded. She was at my side in a flash, keen to do my bidding. “Well, girl, there’s one out there for you to find. Go to it.” Without hesitation, Curley took off like a sleek racehorse lurching forward and bursting through the starting gate.
The terrain over our property was varied. Lush green pastures dotted with stands of cedar pines extending outstretched arms heavenward. Wide open paddocks interspersed with tight clumps of low, thorny thickets and tumbled piles of granite boulders that stood as tall as giants. A cool stream of fresh water meandered on one edge of the property; a border providing separation from the neighbor’s farm.
I watched Curley gallop now out over the windswept pastures and then pushing through the thorny undergrowth up an embankment, she disappeared. There was nowhere that Curley would not traverse in order to retrieve the lost, precious lambs. With enthusiasm, she flung herself into the task going anywhere, anytime. With unreserved trust, Curley knew that I would not deliberately send her out into places that would hurt her. But I did put her into challenging places to protect the sheep.
One moonless, wintry evening, Curley swam across the flooded creek to bring back two stray ewes. Exhausted, chilled and saturated to her bones, I gave my girl an extra helping of meat and gravy and gently massaged her feet to promote circulation and warmth. Another time in the summer, I recall a morning when a large flock of buzzards swooped over a stray, young lamb which had aimlessly wandered into a stony gully. Curley bravely fought off the whole contingency, snapping, yelping and leaping high to deter them from their helpless prey. The pads of her feet were lacerated by sharp stones and I took great pains afterwards to soak and bandage them until healed. Yet Curley would always go wherever I sent her with happy abandon. Not once did she hesitate to place herself in danger for the sake of the flock.
Looking ahead, I saw my brave girl returning with a joyful lamb scurrying in front. Bleating pitifully, the mother nuzzled it affectionately as the escapee charged to her side. “Good job girl” I encouraged. “But what’s this?” Curley’s coat was clogged with burs and dead debris. Kneeling down, I noticed more burs and thorns in her feet. Coaxing Curley towards a stance of whispering pines, I settled on the ground beside her. “Let’s get these out for you.”
And so gently, one by one, I extracted the painful burs, causing Curley to wince each time. Yet, she was so grateful and knew that the suffering would achieve something good. She thanked me with generous, wet licks upon my face.
As Curley acknowledged my efforts with signs of gratitude, I couldn’t help but reflect upon my own journey with Christ. Did I give myself with happy abandon, willingly directing my feet wherever He led me? Was I surrendered to walk into those suffering places to bring back the one lost lamb that had wandered from His side? Curley could put aside her own comforts and even safety, for the sake of something greater. Could I? Was I eagerly sharing my strength, time and talents to touch others in trouble? If Curley could be so willingly available to go anywhere at anytime, why couldn’t I?
My faithful companion only remained with me for a short season. But long enough to give me a deeper understanding of what true devotion and obedient, loving service to our Great Shepherd really is.
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