In the spring of 1978, Susie's family suggested I read a new book, All Creatures Great and Small. I was told that I would laugh. On Mother's Day after church, I buried myself in my bedroom with a bag of Heath candy bars and the paperback... and read for a few hours... and laughed a lot.
Over the years, I have read that book several times, and all the others that came out through the amazing brain of James Harriot. Sometimes there are several years in between the reading phase, and a few months ago I started again. Slowly... very slowly. Am just starting book number 2, All Things Bright and Beautiful. I usually read a chapter when I'm grabbing a quick lunch or ready to doze off before turning out the light. [My husband happens to love these books, too, so it's fun to share bits and pieces with each other, as one or the other is reading them. Again.]
Today, something jumped out at me, and I've been thinking about it for a few hours. NO, James Herriot didn't pour scriptures into his books, but sometimes, whether he planned to or not, godly principles slid in.
It was March, freezing cold, windy, lamb-delivery time. James, the veterinarian, was out and about on hilly, hard fields, or the occasional shelter, but always either bringing forth the babies or helping the moms. One day James was standing with the farmer, Rob, before the rapidly growing flock. "Look!" Rob cried. "'There's that awd ewe with Herbert [a small previously rejected lamb]. Over there, on t'right-- in the middle of that bunch.' They all looked the same to me [James] but to Rob, like all shepherds, they were as different as people and he picked out these two effortlessly."
OF COURSE, this made me think of that wonderful portion of scripture, verses 14 and 15, when Jesus says, I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me--
Even as [truly] as the Father knows Me and I also know the Father -- and I am giving My [very own] life and laying it down on behalf of the sheep. [Amplified.] [And, as you know, a number of other verses in that chapter are fitting to this piece.]
To read the Herriot books, to see the sane and insane sides of him and his partners and customers and animals, is usually very funny-- only occasionally a serious head-shaking experience for me.
But, today, this was the wonderful, joyful story that hit my heart and soul ... and tapped my spirit... because I know that as that pushingly independent, striving, but rejected little lamb, which I resembled in years past, I now know that I know that I know that the Good Shepherd cares for me and will do all that is needed to keep me in a loving place in His flock.
Tonight? Another small portion to read... and more to go.