The Lord is My Shepherd
“The Lord is My Shepherd I shall not want….” Psalm 23
The 23rd Psalm; known by heart by many “…he maketh me to lie down in green pastures…he restoreth my soul” The concept of the shepherd is a common theme throughout the scriptures, something I just accepted without a great deal of thought. The Lord is my Shepherd, he shephereds the flock, he leads us, just a known without much meaning until now. Although this story is about another shepherd, my German Shepherd, Xena the Warrior Princess Vom Satter Haus. This past year my little family moved back to the country, myself and my two boys found ourselves living in a place with lots of room to roam. So I decided that we would find ourselves a German Shepherd, a dog we had long wanted. We were fortunate to find a breeder close to home, and after an hour or so in the floor with lots of furry, mostly black, and curious puppies, we found her, our Xena, or at least we found the puppy that would be named after the warrior princess on the way home. I have trained, and owned and even shown dogs, but I had never owned a German Shepherd. The thing that stood out to me about this little puppy, almost immediately, was that she had to be with us, and know where we were at all times; she shepherded the family. One morning, I decided to let her go along as I dropped the boys off for school, as the oldest got out of the car she looked at me as if to say “You let him leave? Do you do this every day??” I laughed as she whined and cried stretching her neck out the window towards my son. I gently consoled her and petted her letting her know that he would be fine and that he would return back home. She did not seem to have full faith in me.
One of the things we enjoy most about living here is the long hikes we get to take down the side of the mountain, and of course we take our warrior princess with the family. The boys and Xena love the adventure of climbing down the steep rocks that cut our path. The boys being in much better shape than I hurry down the mountainside ahead of me, but Xena waits to make sure I am all right. She waits and watches as I make my way down, she runs back to me to insure that I am okay, and then back to the boys. She never leaves anyone behind; it’s as if it is her job, her mission to keep us all safe.
Yet the real revelation for me was the day I sent the boys down the street to their great-grandmothers. She again whined and cried at the door, and I assured her that they would come back home. I enticed her with her favorite bone, I showed her to her bed, and she was temporarily distracted, but not for long. Soon she went back to the door looking fervently for the boys, and she continued this back and forth laboriously looking for her family to come home.
That day revealed to me, that my shepherd is like The
Shepherd. I am sure in biblical times when the writers and storytellers were talking about shepherds and sheep that they were hitting the nail on the head for the listeners of the time. Unfortunately, in 2015 I guess there are those who still shepherd sheep, but it isn’t something I encounter in my daily life. Yet, God chose Xena to show me a Shepherd story. She like our heavenly Shepherd is constantly watching over us, wanting to make sure we are safe, and wanting us to come home. In that moment as she watched and waited I saw our Lord. No matter how long we are gone, or what wonderful things he has in front of him, he is still fervently, intently, staring out that storm door of life waiting for us to come home.
Thanks be to God.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.