Summer heated earth with white rays of sunlight. The grass withered under the heat. Even with their wool shorn short, the sheep panted.
The Shepherd gathered his flock. The older sheep trotted along. They knew what this meant. Each year, the Shepherd led them into the mountain grasslands where the air was cooler and the grass greener. They had traveled this way before. Sometimes it still scared them, but they remembered their past journeys with their Shepherd.
The younger sheep dragged their feet. They had never traveled this journey before. They worried about leaving their safe pasture for the first time.
The Shepherd led them towards a high mountain range. The sheep trudged slower at the sight of the huge mountains rising above them. How were they ever going to climb to the top? It seemed impossible. They could never climb those steep sides.
They approached a dark valley that sliced into the mountainside. The younger sheep dug in their heels. They couldn’t enter that scary valley where black shadows covered the ground. What was in there? It looked like a place where danger lurked under each rock and behind each tree. But the older sheep kept trudging forward. They’d walked this path before. They knew that the only way to reach the higher ground in the mountain pastures was to walk through the valley.
They scrambled over the fallen rocks and dead trees twisted through their path. The way was difficult to walk. Some of the sheep stumbled. Some wanted to give up because the path was so hard.
But the Shepherd led them up the dark valley until even the younger sheep lost their fear of the darkness and learned to trust their Shepherd’s guidance, and the older sheep learned to trust once again. The dark valley wasn’t a scary place, but a path to the higher ground.
Questions to think about:
- Read Psalm 23:24, Psalm 48:14, and Isaiah 58:11–14 by yourself or with your parents. How are these passages connected?
- To bring his sheep to the mountain pastures in the summer, a shepherd must lead his sheep through the valleys because the rest of the mountain is too steep to climb. The valleys look scary and the path is difficult to walk. How does God lead us through valleys in our own lives?