We all need a shepherd
I don't know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with sheep. They have the most precious, loving eyes that pull me in for instant cuddles. Any animal that can put up with the hugs and squeezes from my sister and I deserves a medal. We have always been animal lovers and the poor things probably can't stand us. I will admit that we can be a little overbearing at times.
Even though sheep can be precious, they do have a side to them that makes me extremely annoyed. They are very needy, and extremely dumb. They will get themselves into the strangest predicaments; situations that usually require the help of their owner (shepherd) to get them out. They are easily frightened and tend to have high anxiety levels. They get ill fairly easily and require more care than most other livestock.
The bible refers to us as sheep more than 220 times. Why is this? There are many reasons. One being that we are wanderers. People tend to wander away from God; from everything that is right and holy. We are also directionless. As adults I think we can all say we have been lost a time or two. Maybe not lost in the sense of getting from place to place, but lost in what direction we are supposed to go with our lives. I personally rely heavily on my Shepherd to point me in the correct direction. We are also vulnerable to disaster, bad choices, financial struggles and so on. Anything that is evil or not from the Lord, we are all vulnerable to. We are human, which means we can all be weak, foolish and ignorant. Our Shepherd will help us overcome those struggles and protect us from evil.
Just as sheep are lost, hopeless and afraid without their shepherd, we are also without ours. When we are lost with no direction or thirsty with no water, our Shepherd goes after us to bring us back to comfort and protection. He doesn't do this in anger as though to punish us, but in love to rescue us. A shepherd doesn't go after his sheep to remind them of how horrible they were, but instead he pursues them in order to bring them back to a place where they are loved and cared for. In our case the Lord leads us back, so that He may prove His love for us and we may restore our relationship. I am very thankful for my Shepherd.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. - Luke 15:4-7