As I lie in bed this morning (or is it lay?) I was awoken (or is it awakened?) by the church bells (Yes we have actual church bells) from my church across the street. I knew that meant it was eight o’clock. I had overslept. As I lie there, I looked over to my cane leaning against my night stand (well, actually it’s an old TV tray but it works well for a night stand). Briefly, in my morning haze, it looked like a shepherds crook (and yes, I’m weird like that). Then the words from Psalm 23 came to my mine “Even though I walk through the valley of the Shadow Death, thou are with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” (I wanted to name this post the shepherds rod but was worried there’s be too much snickering). Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep was with me as I walked down the side of the mountain, in pain, limping like Jacob. He held my hand as I scaled the wall and came to my car.
When I saw the cane this morning, I thought of that. I thought of the Great Shepherd and what He means to me. I slowly stood up, and was grateful I could at least do pushups and situps now without getting winded. And then, once again in my tenacity, I tried to see if I could walk without my cane. And then I did what I usually do when I do something stupid. I mutter “That was stupid, Benton.” Why I call myself by my last name when I do something stupid is beyond me.
Tomorrow I plan on taking out my rubber bandy thingy I got for the Strength Training Anatomy Workout book that kinda bombed. I’ve figured out how to do them without using my bum knee and ankle. I might feel like an old fogy (foogy?…how ’bout really old person) by sitting in a chair and stuff, but I can at least get my workout on.
My mind keeps going back to Jacob, his limp and the shepherd’s crook. Jacob was given his limp to serve God and to remember not only what God had promised him but to also remember the new name God had given him. And so Jacob limped boldly. The shepherd’s crook is the staff referred to in Psalm 23. It was used to bring wayward sheep back into the flock but grabbing them and pulling them back in (I tried this yesterday with my cane on a guy from church. Totally works. Oh, and remember to always sweep the leg). The rod Psalm 23 referred to was used to fend off wolves and bears and lions (oh my!) that might attack the flock.
For the last few months, I’ve not been finding that rest, that refocus, that refreshing that I so need. And it has been hard. In the Bad Lands, ten miles from where Jesus lost his sandals, I found rest, recharging and refocusing. I also found a limp. I felt the pull I needed as well to keep moving forward.
In Genesis 32, when the sun rose after a night of rasseling (yeah, still calling it that), Jacob called the place Peniel (pronunced pen-neal…and yes, I still chuckle too like a junior high kid sometimes when I read that word). He called it Peniel because he saw God face to face there and lived to tell about it. He was pulled back to serving God alone like a shepherd pulls back the sheep, and was given a limp to remind him of that.
We all have limps, we all have shepherds who are willing and ready to bring us back in. We have people watchin’ out for us and are willing to be there for us. We have the Great Shepherd of the Sheep who is willing to be there for you and you’re limp.
So, limp and all, I’m getting slowly back into the groove. Where do you need to get back into the groove? What is your limp? How does the Shepherd need to hook and crook you back in to walk along boldly?