In his book, Walking With God Through Suffering, Timothy Keller writes that British shepherds, such as the ones in this picture, often take sheep and rams and throw them into a dipping trough, a huge vat filled with an antiseptic liquid. The shepherd must completely submerge each animal, holding its ears, eyes, and nose under the surface. It is, of course, horribly frightening for the sheep. If any of them attempt try to climb out of the trough too soon, the sheepdogs bark and snap and force them back in.
But as terrifying an experience as it is for the sheep, without this periodic treatment, they would become victims of parasites and disease; this dunking is actually for their good.
One Christian writer witnessing this process couldn’t help but remember that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and we are his sheep. She wrote:
“I’ve had some experiences in my life which have made me feel very sympathetic to those poor rams—I couldn’t figure out any reason for the treatment I was getting from the Shepherd I trusted. And He didn’t give me a hint of explanation. As I watched the struggling sheep I thought, ‘If only there were some way to explain! But such knowledge is too wonderful for them—it is high, they cannot attain unto it.” (Psalm 139:6)
When we face difficult times and wonder why our loving Shepherd is putting us through them, we must remember David’s words from this Psalm. God knows what is best for us infinitely better than we do. He has a perspective that we don’t; knowledge that is too high for us to attain. The frustrating fact is, there are things we won’t understand on this side of eternity.
In the “dunkings” of life, we must cling to our faith in God’s promise to always be at work for our good – ALWAYS. As Solomon advises in Proverbs 3:11-12, we must not “…despise the Lord’s discipline and not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves as a father the son he delights in.” As Paul puts it, we must learn to, “…rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)
Keep the SON in your eyes!