The caring trap

391 the caring trapI never saw myself as closing your eyes to reality. But I admit that I switch to a channel about animal documentation, when the news is unbearable or feature films too banal to interest. There is something really good about watching the gamekeepers catching wild animals, if necessary, sometimes medically treating them and even moving entire flocks to another area where the environment gives them better living conditions. The game wardens often risk their lives when lions, hippos or rhinos must be stunned. Of course, they work in teams and every step is planned and executed with the necessary equipment. But sometimes it's up to scratch to see if a treatment ends well.

I remember an action that was particularly well planned and successful. A team of experts set up a "trap" for an eland-antelope herd that had to be relocated to another area. There she was to find better grassland and mingle with another herd to improve her genetics. What really got me hooked was how to get a herd of strong, wild, fast-running animals to get into the waiting vans. This was achieved by building fabric barriers held by rods. Slowly the animals were locked in more and more so that they could be carefully pushed into the waiting transporters.

Some proved difficult to catch. However, the men did not give in until all animals were safely housed in the transporters. It was worthwhile to see how the animals were released to their new home, where they could live freely and better, even though they were not even aware of it.

I could see that there is a similarity between the men who save these animals and our Creator, who lovingly leads us on the path to his perfect eternal salvation. Unlike the Eland antelopes in the game reserve, we are aware of the blessings of God both in this life and in the promise of eternal life.

In the first chapter of his book, the prophet Isaiah complains of the ignorance of the people of God. The ox, he writes, knows his master and the donkey the crib of his master; but God's own people do not know it and do not understand it (Jes 1,3). Perhaps that is why the Bible often calls us sheep, and it seems that sheep are not among the most intelligent animals. They often go their own way to find better food, while the shepherd who knows best leads them to the best pastureland. Some sheep like to make themselves comfortable on soft ground and turn the soil into a sink. As a result, they get stuck and can not get up. So it is no wonder that the same prophet writes in chapter 53,6: "They all went astray like sheep".

Exactly what we need Jesus calls himself the "Good Shepherd" in John 10,11 and 14. In the parable of the lost sheep (Lk 15) he paints the picture of the shepherd, who returns home with the lost sheep on his shoulders full of joy. Our good shepherd does not beat us when we go astray like sheep. Through clear and gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit, he leads us back to the right path.

How merciful was Jesus to Peter, who denied Him three times! He says to him, "Feed my lambs," and "Feed my sheep." He invited the doubting Thomas: "Reach out your finger and see my hands, ... do not disbelieve, but believe". No sharp words or insults, just a gesture of forgiveness, combined with irrefutable evidence of his resurrection. That was exactly what Thomas needed.

The same good shepherd knows exactly what we need to stay on his good pasture and he forgives us again and again if we make the same stupid mistakes. He loves us no matter where we get lost. It allows us to learn the lessons we need so much. Sometimes the lessons are painful, but he never gives up.

At the beginning of creation, God intended humans to rule over all the animals on this planet (1, Moses 1,26). As we know, our great-parents decided to go their own ways, so that we can not yet see that everything is subject to man (Hebr 2,8).

When Jesus returns to restore all things, then the people will receive the dominion God intended them to be in the beginning.

The gamekeepers who were shown on the TV show at their work had a real interest in improving the lives of the wild animals there. It takes a great deal of resourcefulness to circle the animals without hurting them. The obvious joy and satisfaction they experienced through the successful action was shown in the bright faces and the mutual shaking hands.

But can you compare that to the joy and true happiness that will come when Jesus, the Good Shepherd, completes the "bailout" in his kingdom? Can the relocation of a few eland antelopes, which will be doing well for a few years, be comparable to the salvation of billions of people for all eternity? Absolutely no way!

by Hilary Jacobs


The caring trap