I would love to share a story of something that happened one bitter, chilly, spring morning when, as a teenager, I walked down to my sheep-pen, to feed and let out to pasture, my sheep. Hearing the pounding thunder of cracked corn hitting my empty, ten-gallon bucket, the sheep began to call out from their pen, anxious for their breakfast. Once I opened the sheep pen, I quickly flung the bucket of corn down the empty trough, and turning to leave, I thought I heard a muffled cry. Looking around, I saw nothing but a haze of corn dust and sheep’s breath. But then, I heard it again. A muffled lamb’s cry. The pen was fairly small, and the only other thing that was in it was a large, round hay bale; the kind that weighs roughly a ton. The cry I heard seemed to be coming from inside it. I heard it once more and determined it was most definitely coming from deep within the bale. I walked around it and saw no apparent whole or entry. But I was absolutely certain there was, somehow, a lamb inside the bale of hay. I waited for it to call again, and when it did, I was ready. I began digging and pulling at the hay nearest to the cry. I dug much longer and much further than I thought I would have to, and finally, finally there was the lamb, wedged deep inside the bale of hay. I pulled him out and gently placed him on the ground. A loud cry escaped his lips, as he realized his freedom. Looking up from her breakfast, his mama attempted a response, but the only thing that managed to come out of her mouth was a stifled bleat and a dribble of corn. Having struggled to his feet, the lamb slowly staggered over and back to his mama and all was right again.
I have been that lamb. A desire for something other than what God had declared good, lured me in and it tasted good. I feasted myself into a trap. And I didn’t realize until it was too late that I could not get out. And like that lamb, all I could do was offer a feeble, stifled cry – a cry, I felt like, was absorbed by the poking, taunting hay that smashed into my face.
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
2 O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!”
Our battle is to cry out; whether we find ourselves trapped in the depths of a hay bale, or if we find ourselves, victoriously on top of it (and yes, lambs have an absolute hay day on top of a bale of hay…one of my favorite sites in the world!). It is true that the desires of our flesh have led us to this point, but as verses three and four of Psalm 130 declare, which we will look to next week, there is forgiveness! Because our sin and shame have been dealt with on the cross, we cry out in hope, for we know our Shepherd sees us covered in the blood of His Son. We cry out for forgiveness as to a shepherd who has left the ninety-nine sheep on the mountains to go and search for the one that went astray. We cry out, believing and trusting that when he finds us, his sheep, he rejoices over us more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.
Out of the depths, let us cry out to the Good Shepherd for He hears us and He comes. His coming is without a frown, and no pounding, angry footsteps echo down His hallway. Rather, He comes in wild delight and singing. And the song He sings is one of rejoicing over you. Our Shepherd hears us and He is good. Let us battle to believe this, no matter how long our soul waits for Him.