Psalm 51:8, “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”
I heard someone refer to this scripture in the context of talk about our spiritual journeying, specifically in it possibly referring to a lamb that is persistently wandering away from the flock and causing the shepherd distress in having to seek it out. The speaker said when a sheep is constantly inattentive to the shepherd and wandering from the flock, the shepherd will break its leg and carry it over his shoulder while it heals, creating a bond of dependency that makes the sheep more attentive to the shepherd from that point on. I have not personally investigated the truth of this reported shepherding practice and cannot say if that is, in fact, the Psalmist’s intention with this verse.
Bill’s Mother died in 1996, leaving to us, among other things, a nativity set. One of the little lambs had a broken leg. I spent some time that Christmas season trying to find a similarly sized replacement lamb, to no avail. Also, it has been my practice to purchase a Christmas story book each year. That year, as I began my search for a book, I discovered Max Lucado’s “The Crippled Lamb”. It was my purchase for that year.
In Lucado’s book, the crippled lamb is born that way, not made so by his rebelliousness or carelessness requiring discipline by the shepherd. And he is born that way in order that he might have the special privilege of being among the first to welcome the new king in the stable and provide warmth to the baby. Lucado reminds us that even lambs with broken legs have a place and a purpose in the kingdom. Our little three legged sheep has its place in the stable in our nativity set. And always will.
Rejoice when you limp in life because of the way God has created you or even the way life has deformed your gait. God’s sovereignty is complete. His redemption is sure. He has a plan for you! And He will lead you into discovering that plan! Be obedient and wait.