Black. It was all black. The darkness swirled around his unseeing eyes. It enveloped him so that the world was nothing but this unending void of obscurity. The darkness was so thick. He blinked. Squinted. Nothing. It was all black. The field. All of it.
He whirled, groping frantically in the blackness that refused to give way. He twirled. Around and around; looking for some kind of balance in a world that had gone topsy-turvy. Or was he the one spinning? He didn’t know anymore. He narrowly missed a jagged cliff and caught his balance. Phew!
First one tentative step. Then another. Ah, safe. So, another step. A loud, pain-full yelp. Ouch! His feet hurt. He had stumbled on an unmoving, hard object. A rock? He didn’t know. He couldn’t see. He turned the other way and took more tentative steps; stumbling and staggering, groping his way through. His eyes were dim-lighted, so he felt his way through like a blind sheep.
His cries were increasing now as he stumbled over jagged rocks and incessantly bumped his head on hard walls. But, still on he went, feeling his way through roughly hewn surfaces; falling and rising again. Crying over and over as each fall left his body bearing wounds and scrapes. He could feel the blood flow from each badly bruised wound; feel the pain which bore an honest testimony to his falls.
But he stood up again on feeble knees that had been knocked severally. He was cold. He was blind. He was hungry. He felt his way through. Then his hand landed on something soft. Food? He didn’t care. He felt empty. Maybe this food could fill it. He stuffed it into his mouth to appease his groaning appetite. But no, it was tasteless and unsatisfying.
Somewhere in the distance, a wolf howled. He shivered. A roar. A lion? Then, a rumbling voice from the distance.
“What are you doing here? This is no place for a sheep to be wandering,” the voice roared. He could feel himself breaking a sweat and shivering with fear. So, this is what death feels like. He heard the rapidly approaching steps. They were coming for him!
He ran. He forgot about his throbbing knee, his bruised head and battered body and ran. His breath came in fast pants now. But of course he could not see where he was going. He was blind. He was lost. Wounded. Battered. Hungry. Messed up.
Still on he ran, taking turns and heading on out of pure instinct. He tripped. He fell. He stood. He ran. And then…. bang!! He let out a surprised, agonized cry. He had fallen into a pit. The pain flashed through his body and he groaned. He cried, feeling sore. He could hear the laughs above him. He was trapped. So, he gave up and just lay there, feeling the soppy grime seep into his body. But he didn’t care anymore. Just lay there in that fetal position with pain racking through his body, waiting to be devoured by wolves and lions. He cried.
Then, a bright, blinding light. And a voice, “Sheep, come.”
He blinked. His vision was intact! He could see!! He looked around and finally saw where he was. A pool of grimy, soppy mud. He looked so filthy and smelled dreadfully. He looked up at the source of the light and saw a man. He was smiling. Quickly, he was pulled out of the mud. But, the man remained curiously in the mud, taking his place. As the wolves and lions jumped in and tore ferociously at the man. He felt terrible. The man would die! Die for him? Why? He was free at last. But his saviour was dead. He sat on the grass and wept.
Then he heard his voice, “Follow me.” The man was calling him. He was alive! The sheep jumped up in joy. And, he followed as his shepherd led him through still waters and lush pasture. What more could he do to repay his saviour? The man tended him and healed his wounds. He fed him and attended him lovingly. The sheep followed his voice. Yes, he was happy now. He was saved!
“We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV).
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for sheep.” (John 10:14 NIV).
“Then Jesus told them this parable; ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?….I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent’”(Luke 15:3-4,7 NIV).