One hot summer afternoon in January, shortly after we had moved to Uruguay, I noticed one of our sheep lying by itself in the pasture. Sheep are herd animals and rarely prefer being alone. It was a ewe, and she had been left behind when the flock had moved to another field.
I went to investigate the situation to see why she wasn’t joining the herd. As I got closer, she got up in a panic and took off. However, from a distance I was able to see what the problem was; she had fly strike, a fatal condition if left untreated.
Any animal, including humans can be affected by fly strike. The condition occurs when there is a wound or vulnerable spot on the skin. Flies are attracted to this area and lay their eggs. Within eight to twelve hours the eggs hatch into hungry maggots which consume the tissue rapidly, thus attracting more flies and compounding the problem. In addition toxins from the maggots invade the bloodstream and cause toxic shock. Fly strike can occur in a matter of hours, and death can result quickly if it is not spotted and treated immediately.
I located the medication used for fly strike and attempted to treat the ewe. Unfortunately, she continued to run from me and did not allow me to get near enough to apply the medicine. She didn’t understand that I wanted to help her, not harm her. All she knew was that she was afraid and hurting so she ran. I finally herded her into the corral and applied the medication. Regrettably by this time it was too late. The toxins had invaded her bloodstream; she died a short time later.
As I pondered this unfortunate experience, I saw many spiritual applications. Satan is referred to as Beelzebub or Lord of the Flies in the gospels. Just as the flies attacked the sheep, Satan attacks us. He looks for our vulnerable spots, the wounds in our heart, any place we’re not healthy. He seeks to devour us. He wants to invade our lives and poison us, filling us with toxins. The toxin of shame, hatred, condemnation, and bitterness are just a few examples of what he uses to destroy us and make us ineffective; unable to live the destiny that God has planned for us.
The Bible tells us that in many ways we are like sheep. Isaiah 53:6 says that, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each one of us has turned to his own way.” Our tendency is to run away from the only One who can truly help us. God has given us the freedom to run. In love, He created us with a free will, allowing us to make our own life choices.
One of those choices is will we follow and trust Jesus, the true and perfect Shepherd? This Shepherd gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He provides everything they need; He restores them, walks with them through difficulty, guides them; protects them, and ultimately dies for them. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (Isaiah 40:11; Psalm 23; John 10:11)
Through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, provision was made for us to be healed, to be set free, and to have eternal life. A prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 53 describes an unfathomable exchange; He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, He was pierced for our sins, and crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
Healing and peace are available through Him. He knows every vulnerable spot and wound that you have. He knows how to heal you. He can even remove the toxins that have invaded and brought destruction. He can turn around your fatal condition if you will go to Him. Don’t delay.
If you are not certain that you have made the choice to trust Jesus as your Shepherd and your Savior, please read Heart Hunger to understand how you can be sure you have started this most important of all relationships.