Let me ask you a quick question. How awesome is your family? If you’re a proud mama like me you can’t help but say, “Oh yeah, my family is so awesome! Absolutely amazing!” I mean, your family, especially your kids, is the best thing since sliced bread. Right?
But now, let’s be honest. Another quick question for you. Who has a black sheep in the family? You know, one who is always getting into trouble and causing general mayhem on a regular basis? I think I saw one or two hands go up. It’s okay if it’s hard to admit that someone in your family isn’t exactly Opie Taylor (I’m dating myself, I know). It took me some time, but now I have to admit it. I have a black sheep in my home.
I won’t name names, of course, but since I am the only girl in the house I can at least reveal that I’m talking about a boy. He is usually grumpy, yelling, crying, stubborn, angry (no, I’m not also describing myself here, although at times….), rebellious, disobedient, and even lying and stealing at times. I did and still do a lot of praying for this little person, and I’ve learned that change comes slowly. I’ve also learned that despite the ongoing behavior it doesn’t mean that I have failed as a mom, or that I am failing him. He’s simply challenging.
Oh, my boy loves me for sure. Yes, he does. Very much. We have our tender, loving moments. He can be a true sweetie and a great hugger. But overwhelmingly he tends to be more of an instigator, pushing boundaries and sucking the peace and joy right out of our home, making life miserable for us all.
Isaiah knew these kinds of people in his day too. In chapter 26, verse 10, he writes,
“Let grace be shown to the wicked, though he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will act unjustly and will not behold the majesty of the Lord,” (NKJ)
Sounds like he’s talking about my guy for sure.
My resident sheep knows about Jesus, the Trinity, the cross, the resurrection, the whole shebang. He has head knowledge of God, but little heart knowledge. He does not behold the majesty of the Lord or revere Him. But I have faith that one day he will, so I show him grace. And patience. Lots and lots of patience.
God Completes His Good Work In His Sheep
While the apostle Paul was in jail, he wrote the most beautiful book in the Bible, in my opinion. The book of Philippians is all about love, joy, strength, and “glass half full” kinds of stuff. He reminds us in his writing that,
“He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion.” (Phil 1:6)
God loves us so much that He’s going to take care of us and see us through the hard times, molding and shaping us along the way to be more and more like Jesus. That promise was true for Paul and is still true for you, for me, and for all the little black sheep out there.
So I know there are good days ahead. And this is why I can confidently say that even though it’s just head knowledge right now, the Lord will send that knowledge to my black sheep’s heart so that His truth will one day take root. God will continue His work in him- and us- until it’s all finished. Then He will look and see what He has done and that it is good (Genesis 1:3,10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).
I’m sure you remember Jesus’s parable of the shepherd who left the 99 sheep to go after the one who strayed away. And that when he found the one sheep he threw a party about it. I believe that that shepherd didn’t care a bit whether that lost sheep was black, white, green, argyle, or purple polka dotted. He just wanted to find his precious sheep and lead it back home to safety because of his great love. That’s exactly how I feel about my own little sheep and I bet God feels that way too.
I take comfort in the Lord and His promises. God knows all too well about difficult people. The Bible is chock full of them. But because God is sovereign, I can trust Him to be in full control at all times, to be faithful, to lead his sheep of all colors and stripes, and to strengthen us on our journey.
Don’t Give Up On Your Little Sheep
I’m not ever giving up on my sheep. He’s too amazing to be “flaked out on”, as one of my sons would say. Plus his salvation is simply too precious. So we’ll all keep leaning on God’s strength to get through the days. Because there is one other promise we can all cling to:
“Lord, You will establish peace for us.” Isaiah 26:12
Yes. Yes, He will.