April's Story

Andrea Howard

Whatever Field I’m In 

Last Saturday at our Women’s Retreat I was taking a walk during one of the reflective sessions, and I headed towards a field with new-born lambs grazing with their mamas. As I approached the wire fence, one of the sheep stood and turned her head towards me. She was definitely not happy that I was coming so close! After giving me a knowing glare for a few seconds, she promptly paired her body beside the lamb and lay down by her side. The lamb responded and buried its tiny head into her fleece.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm‬ ‭23‬:‭1‬-‭4‬ ‭

At first, the Lord reminded me of how He protects us, as a Father. In a similar way to the action of the mama sheep, He comes close to us as His children and lies down beside us. I shared this with the ladies on our return to our gathered space. I was drawn to the shape of her body as she had positioned herself in such a way that that it was difficult to tell where the sheep ended and where the lamb began! I pondered how Jesus comes so close to us in whatever field we find ourselves in. 

Later as I reflected, I understood more what the Lord was drawing my attention to. The mama sheep had perceived me as a threat, but she did not move away from the lamb to intimidate me or try to chase me away. Instead, her immediate instinct was to remain and protect her child. The threat was near, but the lamb was shielded by her parent in the most beautiful, maternal, instinctive way. The little lamb had the full care and attention of the mama sheep who was not distracted from her parental role by the the threat. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm‬ ‭23‬:‭5‬-‭6‬

Over the Easter period in ACV, we have journeyed together through some of the events that led up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. One of the most pertinent messages that has struck a cord with many of us, is the reality that God did not rescue Jesus from the cross, but rather He rescued Him from the tomb. 

Jesus died so that we could live, but more than that; like Jesus, we will also experience pain and suffering. As His followers, we will know Jesus through His resurrection, and we will also get to know Him through His suffering. Though hardship may endure, and the enemy may approach, the Father remains close by us – even preparing that table with us, for us. Our enemies may be present but our Father will always choose to remain close by us.

So I have been pondering, Am I like the lamb? In whatever field I find myself, green pastures or not, do I wait on His presence? When the enemy is near, am I so close to the Lord that is it difficult to tell where the Father ends and where I begin? 

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians‬ ‭2‬:‭20‬ ‭

Can I encourage you today to ask the Father to help you with your posture. He is always close by. He loves you deeply.