When the children were small, they had a book called “Little Bo Peep’s Library Book” by Cressida Cowell. It is the delightful story of Little Bo Peep who loses her sheep and is recommended to go to the library to find out how to find them. While there she goes to the Cookery section and finds the Big Bad Wolf reading “Basic Little Girl Cookery”, the Crime section where she finds the Queen of Hearts reading “Who Stole the Tarts?” and the Natural History section where she finds exactly the book she was looking for: “How to find Sheep” by A. Shepherd. She borrows the book to take home and reads it cover to cover. It contains the really important information that she should leave them alone and they will come home, wagging their tails behind them. When she has finished reading, “Little Bo Peep went to her own front door and opened it and looked outside, where she found… SHEEP!”
I recently remembered the book and was able to find a second-hand copy online. It arrived yesterday and Martina loves it as much as Elanor and Sophie did. It got us reminiscing on the time when the children were being told the story of the Good Shepherd in church. “What do you think the Good Shepherd did?” the preacher asked. “He left it alone and it came home, wagging its tail behind it” said Sophie with instant aplomb. It was one of those moments when you remember why actors are advised never to work with children or animals!
The joy of it though, is that we are not left alone to end up tired and weary on the doorstep of heaven, wondering if the pain, fear and darkness we have dragged ourselves through were worth it. Instead, the Good Shepherd comes and finds us trapped on the hillside, and freeing us from the tangle, lifts us up and carries us home. It’s not easy, it’s not nice, and some days, we wonder if the shepherd is ever coming – in fact, if we’re honest, some days we forget to call out to the shepherd in the first place – but we are not left alone. Sooner or later God comes to find us, or perhaps more truthfully, in the eternal presence of God, sooner or later we remember to look for him and reaching out into the darkness we see the face of God looking back at us with love. And if there are times when we feel lost, he is there. And if there are times when we feel afraid, his peace enfolds us. And if there are times when we feel as if we are in free-fall, underneath are the everlasting arms.
God bless, Vicci