Sheep of a Not Good Kind

Saturday, February 20, 2021

As of Old,

God’s Magnificence is Very Present

and God’s Love Redeems Us

When We Are Lost and Cantankerous.

Isaiah 63:9

It was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

Luke 15:5

When he has found [the lost sheep], he lays [the reckless, cantankerous, wandering-into-danger sheep] on his shoulders and rejoices.

Words of Grace For Today

Today so many people make up their religion from what they find available around them, as if it were all on a smorgasbord, all-you-can-eat for one small price.

They pick a little of this, and little of that, pile into their lives and try to make it through the day. Their smorgasbord is not certified or health inspected, nor governed by any safety measures. It contains delicious looking poisons, some that work fast, some that work slow, some that only work as death approaches from some other cause.

I met an older man when I was on 4 different medications and a regular injections just to make it through the day. He told me his story when he saw me take one pill. Years before he had a small health problem, went to the doctor and was prescribed a powerful medicine to deal with the issue. Then after months he developed a more serious issue, went to the same doctor and again received a script for medication to deal with that issue. In a few months he had three other rather debilitating issues including that he could not sleep through the night. More medications and a referral to a sleep clinic and thousands of dollars later he went to sleep with a breathing machine on his face. The first mask had eaten into his nose creating a sore that just would not heal, so he had to pay hundreds of dollars to get a different larger mask that covered most of his face. The sore took months to heal and left a noticeable scar.

One day, four years after his first minor issue, he got up and went out to repair a fence. It was rather simple manual work. Before this all started he did this kind of thing easily. Now he could barely gather the tools and supplies together. He made two slow trips to get the tools and supplies to the fence where it needed repairing. He spent hours to get the simple repair done that should have taken less than a half hour. Finally toward supper he came back into the yard, completely exhausted. He left his things for the next day to be put away and shed his jacket and boots as he came in and barely made it to his bed to lay down.

The next morning he woke up famished. His last meal was the morning the day before. He had not used his sleeping machine, he’d forgotten to take his medications. He felt better. He realized that while taking his medications and using the sleeping machine he felt ten times worse then he had with the first minor issue he went to the doctor to have dealt with years earlier. He stopped taking all the medications and using the sleeping machine.

Each day he felt noticeably better. A week later he went out to repair another area of the fence and it took him a half hour. Then he went online to the Mayo Clinic website and read about his first symptom, the medications he added each few months and their side effects. He realized that the first symptom could be dealt with by a change in diet and more exercise on a very regular basis. All the other symptoms were known side effects for the medications, each as they were added, at least for the first 4 drugs. Then it became clear to him he’d been on such a soup of drugs his body was completely incapable of dealing with all the powerful effects and side effects and it had started to slowly shut down.

His last comment finally caught my attention: he’d talked to a number of men who’d suffered the same thing. It was as if doctors were trying to incapacitate men with medications.

It took me a few months to realize the same thing had been done to me. I stopped taking all but the one medication I’d been on for decades that I needed for my GERDS. Life returned to normal and I started to realize I was also being abused and gaslit by my now ex.

As in the days of old, God gathered in this wandering sheep, carried me back to the flock, and saved my life, literally and figuratively. For this I give God thanks each day, and pray for those that tried to do me in, and still try to this day. May God gather them into the flock, as in the days of old.

Faith and one’s faith community is not a smorgasbord, any more than medications are a smorgasbord to pick and choose from. Traditions develop and continue because they provide a healthy manner of living. Humans continually mess up the traditions, and the traditions, at least my Lutheran Christian tradition, is well prepared to face such challenges and call us back to rely on …

to rely on God alone, and God’s Grace for us as the only thing that saves us. We need one thing, something like I needed only one medication. We require God’s Grace. Everything else only appears to provide us life abundant. In fact the ‘side effects’ of most religious self-made conglomerations is that one finds oneself out in the wilderness, defenceless as the wolves come closer and closer.

Thanks be to God, for God’s Grace, made known to us through Jesus’s old, old story.

As of old, God walks with us, and rejoices when we return to the flock after we inevitably stray into danger that could do us in. Our enemies, and God’s enemies, may want us dead and work hard to accomplish that, doch God works wonders to save us, and there is joy for us, because of God’s Grace, all the days of our lives.