They Were Sheep Without A Shepherd


Scott Martin produces and publishes a daily forecast for a popular weather blog. My favorite part of his forecast is “This Day in Weather History.” I like History, I do not so much like the weather, nor do I prefer a lot of information pertaining to it. I am the odd-woman out in our house. I am the only member sans a radar app or warning type apparatus thingy on my phone. A suspender exposed James Spann does not give me cause for panic. As my husband publishes his “Midday,” he rarely brings to my attention the details of the forecast that are not of interest to me.

So one afternoon when I heard his exclamation of “Oh Wow!” It gave me cause to pause.

Me: “What Wow?”

Scott: “On this day is 1918 there were 504 sheep killed by a single lightning strike in Utah.”

Me: “Weird.”

Scott: “A herd of Sheep gather closely together in a storm and the shock from the single bolt traveled from one to the other.”

SONY DSCThen I began to ponder on that one. If I’m honest I’ll admit I’m still pondering. As a devoted sheep my initial thought, “Where was the shepherd?” Common sense would dictate that the shepherd was likely seeking shelter. Perhaps he had the influenza… After all, 1918 was the year of the terrible influenza outbreak that claimed so many lives. It was known as the Spanish Lady and it ravaged the bodies of the young and healthy. The world had never seen a pandemic of such epic proportions. Maybe the shepherd had been drafted into the First World War. Another pandemic that claimed the lives and ravaged the bodies of the young and healthy. Maybe he was close by and like any other human in his situation, was powerless against the force of nature that still can not be tamed.

I then had the realization that the closeness of the herd is what allowed the electricity to travel from one to another. They were one mass and not several individual sheep standing exposed in the storm. While I’m sad for the Sheep of 1918, their death 99 years ago serves as a lesson for me. My Shepherd will never leave me. His Word dictates His thoughts regarding Sheep with no Shepherd, Matthew 9:36 says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

My life storms, pestilence, even war and death do not drive Him away. In fact, during those times He is right beside me. He is filled with compassion. My Shepherd pulls me close and offers me protection. He does indeed have power over the forces nature, and as my quiet time this morning reminded me, He is not bound by the laws of physics, gravity, space, and time. All are irrelevant when He is involved. Like the long dead sheep of 1918, His herd is to behave as one. The Shepherd likes it when we stay together, huddle close in the storm. When one of us grieves, we all grieve. When one of is struck, we are all struck. Not all this divisiveness and hostility. All the Sheep unified in obedience to the Shepherd.

I wonder how different our world would be if we would act just so.

“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” Ephesians 4:1-6.