I could hear the panicked cries and racing hooves before I made it outside. The commotion on the hill gave me goosebumps and had the hair standing up on the back of my neck.
I raced as fast as my legs could carry me trying to get over the crest of the hill! My heart was pounding as I knew what these sounds meant.
There was a coyote in the midst of my sheep!
As I got within a couple hundred yards I could hear the guard dogs charging after the coyote! Thank goodness all was well. Or was it?
I was able to witness my guard dogs in full glory putting the run on this wiley coyote. They sprinted after him as they raced over the next hill away from my sheep.
The ewes were calling for their lambs and racing about frantically trying to make sure everybody was in the flock. I sat down on the hill to watch and make sure everyone calmed back down.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the coyote circling back. But how? Where? The guard dogs had him right? Well, Mr. Coyote had outsmarted my guard dogs. He got far enough ahead of them and then went down wind as he circled back out of sight and out of mind.
By this time my husband had heard the commotion and was coming over the hill!
We hustled towards the sheep as we saw the coyote sort a new baby lamb further and further away from the safety of the flock. You’ve probably seen the graphic documentary’s of the lion who finds a lonely little Gazelle just a little way from the herd. As the lion sneaks in our heart races as we know what’s coming. The next thing we know we’re screaming at the TV.
“NOOOO! Run little Gazelle, run!! Please don’t do it lion. Please!!”
Our heart sinks as we watch the gruesome outcome or cheer with great gusto on those rare occasions the Gazelle outruns the lion and makes it back to the safety of the herd.
Let me tell you my heart was racing as I watched one of my own being sorted off and about to be devoured!
How often in life do we find ourselves “sorted off” from our herd? We’re just cruising through life not realizing how much we’ve isolated ourselves.
We have an adversary in life too and he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
The Bible tells us multiple times we are to be on guard for the enemy. I found one of the best ways to do that is to be surrounded by fellow believers who continue to lift us up.
Galatians 6:12 reminds us we are to bear one another’s burdens. Do you ever feel like your burdens are so heavy you’re not sure how you’re going to get through? I’m not saying we don’t turn to Jesus to lighten our load because He has promised that his yoke is light and his burden is easy. What I am saying is He has given us fellow believers to walk through this life with who can hold each other’s arms up in the midst of the battle!
I love the tie between believers and sheep throughout the Bible. I think it’s because it’s something I can relate to being a shepherdess. When you have seen it from my point of view you realize how spot-on God is with that example.
There’s safety in numbers for sheep. They are created to thrive in a flock. It’s amazing how much that relates to our own life as believers. Of course the enemy is going to come after those of us who are living in isolation.
We are surrounded by countless numbers of people and are living in an era of being inundated by social media where we have so many “friends”. But are we missing community still? Are we slowly isolating ourselves a little more each day?
Many studies show loneliness is an epidemic in our modern day.
“Loneliness and weak social connections connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote earlier this year in the Harvard Business Review.
Can you see why the Bible, the greatest instruction manual ever written, explains to us why community is so important?
I love this reminder from Ecclesiastes 4:7-12 (NLT)
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Do you know why sheep are safer in the flock? It’s because of sheer numbers. They have a better defense when they aren’t isolated. They are simply better together!
As believers, we have those same benefits in community. We also have the added benefit of our savior being part of that three strand cord.
So how do we go about being in community? Where do we start if we are feeling isolated?
We need to make the effort to put ourselves in social settings. I highly recommend getting involved in small group studies at your church. If there aren’t any yet go ahead and start the ball rolling and set one up! Other people are craving connection as well so lead the way.
I LOVE the connections I’ve made online and through social media. There are some great friendships made online. But…we also need to have IRL friendships. People we can put our arms around and hug. This week will you reach out to someone you know in real life and set up a coffee date? Trust me, it’s worth the effort!
This might sound a little out there and tough when our days are already so jam packed but sometimes we need broaden our horizons. In other words, try new things and meet new people. This could be a workout class, an art class, volunteering or many other great opportunities. It’s a great chance to invest in new relationships!
How about you? Are you ready to be intentional about being in community?
By the way, that lamb on the hill that the coyote sorted off and was about to make a meal out of earlier? My husband stepped in and saved the little guy and I quickly got him back to the safety of his community!
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