I was standing in our bedroom, folding clothes as we prepared to leave our third “home” in three months. I crossed to the window to see if I could find out who was wailing outside. It sounded like an animal, but also made me think of a desperate child.
It was a goat, pegged into the grass on the other side of the road, alone. It kept jerking and pulling at the rope, desperate to get back with the group that was further down the road. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the animal, and felt tears welling up in my eyes.
I wasn’t crying for the goat, although I did feel bad for it. Those tears were for myself. In that moment, I felt very much like that struggling animal, who just wanted to be with its herd.
The middle of this month will be three months since we have been back in Senegal, and for a variety of reasons, we are still not settled. We said goodbye to our friends and family in the US and stopped over in Dakar for a few weeks. The time there was sweet and wonderful in catching up with friends that we hadn’t seen in over a year. Then we moved to the south, into a temporary housing situation, and despite it being an all new area, we were incredibly blessed to get to know some more wonderful people and connect with them quickly. And now here we were uprooting again, but not to our final destination.
I suppose on the one hand, you could look at it and be in awe of how gracious God is to give us so many sweet relationships as we go from place to place. At that moment though, all I could see were the continual goodbyes, and I wanted to wail like that goat, my heart crying… “Just let me stay with them!”
However, as I was getting ready to wallow, I noticed something. The goatherd had pegged each of the goats at a distance from one another so that they would have the optimal amount of grass to eat. The goat might not understand this, but the goatherd did. It was an interesting observation.
Like that goat, I cling to comfort, I want security, I will always want to be where I feel most at ease. Also like that goat, I don’t truly know the best place for me. But I know the One who does. He will lead me to where I can best feed and grow, and unlike the goatherd, He will never leave me there alone.