Good Shepherd, Lamb of God by Gerrit W. Gong
Content by Jenika Clawson
I don't know much about sheep, so I decided to do some research in preparation for this submission. I was actually looking for some specific facts and characteristics that were shared in my husband's elder's quorum lesson a couple months back. Facts like how a sheep will literally only respond to their specific shepherd and no amount of imitation, impersonation, or bribery can sway them. All very good, valid points. What I found instead was Shrek, the Merino sheep.
Now I don't know how much you know about sheep, but just about all I knew is that yearly, they get their wool sheared and we use this wool for many things. What I didn't put together is that the shearing doesn't just benefit us as humans, but the sheep actually really need it done. Domestic sheep will grow their wool indefinitely. I soon found this was actually a huge detriment when I stumbled upon Shrek, who hid in a cave for six years desperately trying to escape being sheared. When they finally found him, at first they couldn't even tell it was a sheep! They said at first glance he looked like some kind of biblical creature. Another said, "Someone help that sheep, he is being eaten by some kind of dirty monster!" When they finally got to shear him, he had enough wool to make 20 men's suits.
After chuckling in unbelief, I quickly realized that I've been a lot like Shrek in many points of my life. I've hidden from those who can help me for many reasons. I didn't want to be a burden. I was embarrassed at my present state. I was afraid that the pruning I required would be uncomfortable and maybe even painful. I worried that I would be compared to those that were doing better than I was, or worse, how good I used to be. I was worried that they didn't actually care about me or had ulterior motives to help me. So, I'd hide. More specifically, I would hide from the one person that could alleviate all the "wool" I elected to carry, which just got heavier and heavier as time went on.
We talk a lot in the church about the parable of the hundred sheep and leaving the ninety and nine to go after the one that is lost. Truthfully, I never liked this story because I misunderstood it. I was always taught that I belonged in the ninety and nine because I was the kind of person who did everything they were supposed to do. I felt hurt that just because I was doing all the right stuff, I would be abandoned for the one, the one who I was taught was the kind of person who maybe didn't appreciate the church. The one who was reckless and would drink and smoke and hurt those who loved them. It wasn't until I heard Elder Gong teach that "our Savior reaches out to the one and to the ninety-and-nine, often at the same time."
At that moment I realized that to the Savior, we are all simultaneously the one. His reach is so personal and infinite that we don't have to deliberately disobey to be noticed. "As Lamb of God, our Savior knows when we feel alone, diminished, uncertain or afraid … our Good Shepherd calls us in His voice and in His name. He seeks, gathers, and comes to His people."
FAITH IN ACTION
I encourage you to come out of hiding. Come to the Savior and let Him shear you of all the burdens you've been electing to bear. "Find peace, purpose, healing, and joy in the fullness of His restored gospel and on His covenant path."
I love the title of this lesson: God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. It reminds me that if I'm feeling confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, or anything of the sort, I can always turn to the Savior and find peace. He always shepherds us to peace.