Karen’s Column - Costly Love
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2013
I wonder if you remember what you were doing a few years ago on the day of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires? Often shocking news like that embeds in our memory like a freeze frame. I remember light-heartedly flicking on the morning show that day, but then staring at the TV in bewilderment and shock. 173 people lost their lives and over two thousand homes were destroyed by the ravaging fires. Like many others, I stood in front of the TV weeping that morning. On February 7th 2009, Australia stood united in grief.
As the following days unfolded we heard amazing stories of courageous survival, miraculous escapes and heart breaking loss. Penny and Melanie Chambers were 21 and 23 year old sisters. They didn’t leave their property like neighbours (who made it out alive); insteadthey stayed to try and save their horses. Tragically they died along with them.
My heart breaks for their family. My own daughters are 20 and 22, so that story is close to home. Some people puzzle why girls would stay in those terrifying conditions, but those of us who really love our animals can empathise how heart wrenching it would be to drive away without them. Penny and Melanie choose to risk their lives for the love of their horses and their incredible loyalty reminds me of the verse etched around the eternal flame at the Canberra War Memorial. It reads, “Greater love has no one, than to lay down their life for a friend.” It’s true of our valiant war heroes, it’s true of the precious Chamber sisters and it is true of the one I model my life after…
I was reading a beautiful passage in John last night (John was Jesus’ best friend and wrote a biography on him). It goes like this: “A thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy but my purpose is to give a rich and satisfying life. I (Jesus) am the good shepherd. The good shepherd is willing to give his life for his sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon his herd because they don’t belong to him and he doesn’t really care about the sheep. But I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep and I give my life in order to save them.”
Jesus was speaking using an illustration his listeners would understand. In the Middle East they don’t use fences and motorbikes to herd sheep; they use shepherds instead. The sheep and the shepherd have a close, trusting relationship and the herd follow the shepherd everywhere he goes. They come when they’re called, stay nearby for safety and the shepherd constantly seeks out grass, water and shelter for the group. If a predator comes to attack the flock, the shepherd fights to protect his lambs.
So in his illustration, Jesus is affectionately comparing us to a well cared-for flock of lambs and He is our doting shepherd. We are the loved, cherished, protected ones; we are the ones who Jesus willingly gave everything for. His love for us was hugely costly, but deep love is like that! Greater love has no man, than to lay down his life for his friends. I hope you know you are treasured; I hope you know you are adored! There is a good shepherd watching out for us. We stand united in being loved!
Wishing you the joy of knowing the goodness of our shepherd,