The Rest Of The Story

Take a close look at the picture I’m using as my banner.

Sheep, right?

While it serves the motif of “Green Pastures” well, it’s what you cannot see in the frame that tells the bigger story. I’m going to “page-break” here and make you work a little–just a tad–to find out the, uh, rest…of…the…story.

There. At the bottom, veiled a bit in shadow and standing at the edge of a cliff, is a dog. Perhaps a sheep-dog. Maybe a wolf. This post will work either way.

Let’s suppose, just for now, it’s a herding canine. He stands braced at cliff’s edge, rear heels dug in, eyes locked on to the herd. He is NOT about to let a single sheep wander near, much less fall off into the dark abyss. How comforting it is to know that our Lord surrounds and steers us in much the same way. Surely goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life.

That scenario works, right?

Comforting, no?

But here’s another angle, the one I alluded to a moment ago. Let’s just say the dog is a savage wolf. We know where this is going right? Say he’s coaxing the animals to the edge, maybe even sizing them up. Which one will he lunge for?

The sheep in the front, closest to the drama, look skittish. One even huddles closer to his neighbor, even if it means he has to press his face into the other’s rear end. He’s wishing he was on the back row right about now.

Then notice how many have their backs turned, seemingly unimpressed by the danger or, worse, totally oblivious to it. That seems to be a check-mark against the church these days. Either stuck in fear or dumb with apathy.

But look yonder, toward the back of the pack. You see some trailing off, just a few, but wanderers still. It’s like they’re so far from the action they have forgotten they are part of something bigger than themselves, so they mosey off in search of some other stimulation or significance.

Now. Zero in on something I cannot wait to show you. I’ll bet a few of you spotted him. Or her. Let’s say her. Just for the egalitarians among us.

Let your eyes move from front to just past the middle of the herd. There. Right…there. Whether the canine is wolf or friend, the picture works. While everyone is doing their thing, trembling with fright, pretending everything’s okay or searching for greener pastures, she, just feet away and in full view of the…dog, is simply and beautifully lying down.

Resting. She’s not worrying that she’ll be eaten for she enjoys her Great Shepherd. She’s not worrying she’ll be led off the cliff because the One who watches over her and the rest of His own, is committed to keep them from stumbling. Or falling. She knows she’s in safe pastures.

That’s what I wanted you to see, so whenever you happen by Green P@stures, take a look again at the banner photo at the top of the home page, and remember.

The REST of the story.

Where, pray tell, do you find yourself in this frame?

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8 thoughts on “The Rest Of The Story

  1. Rhonda Pecce says:

    What a beautiful picture of the one who finds rest in KNOWING!!! I love this. So glad you shared it.

  2. Joy Martin says:

    Love this … it’s also interesting that the “resting” sheep is still watching wisely toward the cliff — but not frantic … just resting in God’s presence but aware of her surroundings. Thanks Scott !

    • pasturescott says:

      Oh, that’s so good, Joy! Good catch, beloved. Wise as serpents, harmless as [lambs] are we in the mercy and love of our Good Shepherd. I think I shall name that sheep…

      JOY.
      :)

  3. It is interesting that when we think of green pastures we seldom reflect that such a green pasture with still waters is described a located smack dab in the middle of he valley of the shadow of death where God prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies. Both pictures seem so incongruent as to not be reconcilable; but in order to reign you have to suffer with him, and without the conditions for suffering being present suffering is out the window and you cannot reign without it’s effect. Paul describes so many places where he was in peril, but Western Christianity assumes a life of eternal repose in green pastures fenced in by the American dream; that’s what we aspire for and failing that people tend to see us as failures. In that case Paul must have been a real “bust”.

  4. JT says:

    It seems like I’m one of those more on the outside of the group…. but not fully outside. I’m still there… just not totally comfortable in the middle of the mix.
    Ah! And notice…, I might not be the closest to any sheepdog (or wolf for that matter!), but I ain’t no where near the edge of the cliff either!

    Haha… I love metaphors.., pictures… thank you, Scott!

    • pasturescott says:

      It was the oddest thing just now, JT…and I don’t want you to think I’m patronizng here…but as I read your words, I thought–truthfully–they could have been signed off by a guy named John the Dunker (Baptizer) at a point of his life, or an Elijah, or a recently converted Saul out in the desert, or pick any of the prophets. Sometimes, I would suppose, God has to move us *slightly* away from the gathering to do a deeper work in us. We think we’re just out there being a rebel, but God is putting his message in our heart–once we stop squirming. Yeah, been there…

      • JT says:

        Haha.. yeah…
        Sometimes I really *do* think that * I am* being a rebel…. and sometimes I reckon that is the case (only God knows for sure…), but I think that other times I’m just being true…. and judgment (from others) is often relative.

        Can’t say I’ve got it all figured out, but I’m A OK with a little bit of wonder… especially having such a hyper-analytical mind!

        All Love to you and yours!! :-)

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