Sometimes, we must be broken before we can be saved

Published 6:08 am Sunday, September 19, 2021

A woman visiting in Switzerland years ago came to a sheepfold on one of her daily walks.
Venturing in, she saw the shepherd seated on the ground with his flock around him.
Nearby, on a pile of straw lay a single sheep which seemed to be suffering.
Looking closely, the woman saw that its leg was broken.
Her sympathy went out to the suffering sheep and she asked the shepherd how it happened.
“I broke it myself,” said the shepherd sadly and then explained. “Of all the sheep in my flock this was the most wayward. It would not obey my voice and would not follow when I was leading the flock.”
“On more than one occasion it wandered to the edge of a perilous cliff. And not only was it disobedient itself, but it was leading the other sheep astray.”
“Based on my experience with this kind of sheep, I knew I had no choice, so I broke its leg. The next day I took food and it tried to bite me. After letting it lie alone for a couple of days, I went back to it and it not only eagerly took the food, but licked my hand and showed every sign of submission and affection.
“When the sheep is well, it will be the model sheep of my entire flock. No sheep will hear my voice so quickly nor follow so closely. Instead of leading the others away, it will be an example of devotion and obedience. In short, a complete change will come into the life of this wayward sheep. It will have learned obedience through its sufferings.”
This is a perfect illustration of how God chooses to deal with mankind at times.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 2:25, “For you were as sheep going astray, but now you have returned unto the Shepherd of your souls.”
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep.
It is the shepherd’s job to feed, protect, and care for the sheep.
But if the shepherd has a sheep that continues to put itself and the others in danger by constantly wandering away from the flock… the shepherd must discipline that sheep.
Listen to what the Bible says in Hebrews 12:5-11, “My son, do not despise the discipline of the Lord, nor become discouraged when you are rebuked by Him: for whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and punishes every son whom He receives. If you endure discipline, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father does not discipline? But if you receive no correction, such as all sons share, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a few days after their own pleasure; but He disciplines us for our good, that we might share His holiness. Now no discipline for the moment seems to be pleasant, but painful: nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness unto them which have been trained by it.”
Looking back over my life, I can see many times when I had put my life in jeopardy because of some wrong decisions I had made.
I kept wandering away from God thinking I could make it on my own.
But before I fell from the cliffs of despair, the Good Shepherd found me!
He gave me a second chance. He taught me there is a way that seems right to man but it only ends in eternal death.
Yes, the discipline was painful for a moment, but considering the alternative — I’m so glad He did it!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia