A BLACK SHEEP
FOUND BY THE SHEPHERD


Several years ago I was walking one evening with a business colleague from Leicester Square Underground Station to the London Hotel at which we were staying. Passing a side street I heard a man’s voice speaking of the preciousness of the Name of Jesus. A small crowd had gathered near to the speaker – a young man who was evidently rejoicing in the knowledge of Christ as his own Saviour. The last words I heard him say gave abundant testimony to this, as he concluded “I have said all I wish to; if anyone else can speak well of my Saviour I hope he will.” He put on his hat and walked off through the crowd; who he was I do not know, for I had no chance of speaking to him, but his concluding words were a challenge which I could not resist. My colleague walked on, and saying I would see him in the hotel later, I took off my hat, walked into the ring formed by the little crowd – and looking round on them wondered what I could say!

I found myself looking into the faces of young men and women who were bent on seeking what pleasure the world could give them, but I did not see any evidence of satisfaction! What message could reach those restless hearts? Suddenly a verse of a hymn learned as a child came into my mind – and although it seemed an almost foolish thing to do in the circumstances, I commenced by saying “I would like to tell you the story of how a young man found Christ through the message of a verse learned at his mother’s knee. He was brought up in a Christian home – but in his late teens he “kicked over the traces,” joined the Army and early in the 1914-18 war found himself in Flanders. Badly wounded and left for dead he awakened in the night to find himself lying amidst men slain in the battle, with no living person near – and he was afraid.

Trying to pray he knew not what to say, and then suddenly there came to his memory the words his dear mother had taught him as a child –
“Jesus, tender Shepherd hear me,
Bless Thy little lamb tonight;
Through the darkness be Thou near me,
Keep me safe till morning light.”

Falling into unconsciousness he was found alive the next morning by a stretcher party and eventually recovered sufficiently to be able to write to his mother – “Mother, the little lamb had become a big black sheep – but the Shepherd has found him and saved him, and when I come home we will thank Him together.” (Let me add, I was not that young man.)

As I spoke the crowd grew larger and pressed nearer to me; I felt the Lord Himself was speaking. Quietly I said – “Perhaps some of you have learned that verse at your mother’s knee; that Shepherd is still seeking you, however far you may have wandered away.” Little more was said, but as I closed in a short prayer several of those young folk came to me; some with tears in their eyes, and some with apparent sincere promises to return to the mothers they had left. The day to come will manifest any real work of God which may have accrued.

You, my dear reader, need that Shepherd too! You may not be so black a sheep as the young soldier was, nor even as I believe some of those young men and women were, but – face the question plainly – “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way,” (Isaiah 53). Is not that true? If the word of God had nothing more to say we would all be hopelessly lost; we could never find our way back to God. But the verse continues so blessedly – listen to it, they are the words of God Himself to you and to me – “and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Will you take up that Bible of yours and read this wonderful chapter – Isaiah 53? You will see without any doubt who the “Him” referred to is. It is Jesus! The Word of God makes this quite clear and without any possibility of contradiction in Acts 8 v. 35. As the Ethiopian asked who the prophet Isaiah was referring to Philip the evangelist “preached unto him Jesus.”

Listen once more to the words of this precious Saviour “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” This Shepherd died for you; He is seeking for you. He found His sheep on the battle-fields of France; He has found countless others, too; will you not, wherever you may be at this moment, yield to His love, proving as our soldier friend did, that the darkest moment can be radiant with His precious saving love, and every subsequent step of life’s pathway lighted with the joy of His presence and grace.

From “Personal Evangelism”
By F.A. H