Sunday, October 12, 2014

Stuck in the Fence

Disclaimer: The sheep in this story has had no long-lasting ill effects. She may have a new appreciation for fences, though. Also, no pictures were taken, due to our intense focus on resolving the situation.

A couple of weeks ago we were having issues with our electric fencer. The fencer is a device that sends jolts of electricity through the fence at regular intervals. It is to keep the animals you want to have inside the fence INSIDE, and also to keep the animals you don't want inside the fence OUTSIDE. If you've ever had a tussle with an electric fence, it's a memory that doesn't fade. (Go ahead and share your story in the comment section. It's funny to read other people's stories.)

Anyway, for a few days, the fencer would randomly not work. We replaced ground connections buried under ground. We endlessly traipsed around the fence to see if there was a tree or something else causing the fence to short out. Finally we decided that the fencer needed repair, and made arrangements. (There was that really close lightning strike that blew our neighbor's transformer, now that I think about it.)

During one of the random downtimes, we had sheep out. Free range sheep is not really part of our business model, so it was "all hands on deck" to get them put back in the fence. When we were herding them towards their destination, we saw that there was a sheep tangled in the net fence. We "staged" the flock, holding them still, while The Farmer investigated. She was so tangled that it took him a good 5-10 minutes to get her free.

The lack of electricity at that time had tempted her to tangle with the fence. And her instinct was to struggle once she got caught, which made things worse. Her sheep friends couldn't help her at all, and she couldn't help herself, either. She needed to have The Farmer come and patiently untangle her.

The Bible is full of stories about sheep. People are compared to sheep more than anything else, and it's not always a positive comparison. And while there are many lessons swirling in my mind about the above situation, the main one is this. We, like sheep, have tangled with stuff that we should have left alone. Stuff that isn't good for us. And struggling to get out of the situation often worsens it. Our friends can't help us (and in fact sometimes just jump over us to get to greener grass). The only one who can help us is our Shepherd, who gently untangles us, binds up our wounds, and restores us to our place in the flock. If you are in a situation that has you tangled, won't you ask the Shepherd to help you out? Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him." God wants to have a relationship with us. And that starts with us asking for help, and opening the door to him.

Now for the electric fence stories. I'll go first.

1 comment:

  1. When I was growing up, my father kept a small herd of Angus cattle. It was a nice summer day, and my brother and I were near the electric fence. I noticed my shoelace was untied, and invincible person that I was, raised my foot to tie the lace mid-air. But I got a little wobbly, and grabbed for something to steady myself. I must have grabbed my brother and the electric fence at about the same time. He took the brunt of the shock as it traveled through me and exited to the ground through him. He was Not Happy. You'll be glad to know I haven't tried to steady myself on an electric fence since then.


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