Sometimes we find ourselves wandering around in a spiritual daze. We feel emotionally, spiritually, and perhaps even physically worn out. We blame God or question God and feel like a victim but our suffering often comes because we are carrying things around that God never intended. We stray from his care, his blessing, and abundant life. In doing so, we also take on the burden of caring for ourselves. We load ourselves up and get lost in the cares of the world. That’s not how God wants us to live.
Every couple of years, there’s a story about an actual sheep who strays from its real-life flock. In 2021, Edgar’s Mission, of Victoria, Australia, rescued such an animal. They named him Baarack. “He was found wandering amongst the many trees, native animals and perils of a state forest. Each day his wool grew longer and longer, and his plight more desperate, while his chances of survival grew thinner and thinner,” their website says.
Baarack was not a wild animal. His breeding as a wool sheep meant that his health and ultimate survival required shearing of his fleece when it got too long. Away from his shepherd’s care, Baarack’s wool became a liability—an immense burden. When Edgar’s Mission finally cleaned up Edgar, they sheared off 35.4kg (78lbs) of “matted fleece, adorned with countless sticks, twigs and insects.”
That sounds like a lot. Depending on Baarack’s age and weight (the Edgar’s Mission website says that he was thin), he may have been carrying twice to one-third of his body weight. Beyond being a heavy burden, it made it hard for him to see. He developed a skin ulcer under the fleece. It made him less nimble, so he was more vulnerable to predators.
All of this mirrors our lives when we stray from a close relationship with God.
We have an enemy of our soul who prowls around like a lion (1 Peter 5:8). When we stray from the care of God and don’t submit ourselves to His Word, we forgo the washing of the Word that the Spirit provides. No one on this world can deny the pain that is the equivalent of a festering spiritual ulcer that comes from undue, unclean burdens that scrape and chafe us.
What The Bible Says About This
We need to be obedient to our Good Shepherd and lay our burdens down.
In the Book of Matthew, Chapter 11, Jesus says:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
1 Peter 5:6-7 says:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)
What Are You Carrying?
Jesus also tells us that, in this world, we’ll have struggles [John 16:33]. Being alive means that stuff will go wrong and there’s always work to do. We’re not here on an all-expenses-paid vacation. But we make it harder when we carry around fear, anger, unforgiveness, hurt, and other things. Sometimes we carry these things for years.
Pain from something that happened to us a decade ago can cause us to continually stray just a little bit farther every day until we look around and think, “Where did Jesus go?” He’s there, but you are wool-blind, covered in hurt and maybe some anger that crept in along the way.
What are you carrying? Pause and ask the Holy Spirit what you are lugging around that is creating festering wounds underneath it all. Jesus will lift that burden and heal your wound if you’ll let Him.
Humility is All it Takes
It’s hard to be aware of when our pride is causing us to suffer. We have to be in the practice of spending time with the Lord. When we keep our eyes on Him, we can see when we’re straying away from Him. It’s much harder to get lost that way. Then Jesus can shear us when we need it. He can clear the sticks and bugs that might otherwise collect in our fleece. He can feed us good spiritual food and water so that we will never hunger and thirst like we do when we’re on our own.
How odd is it that we just have to humble ourselves to accept this free care that comes with salvation?! We don’t have to do anything but say, “Yes, Jesus. I am yours.”