A Purpose...

I came across this illustration while I was reading Death of a Little Child by J. Vernon McGee.  I wanted to share this today as I think about my little girl.
"There is a story of sweetness and beauty which enlightens the heart of every parent who has lost a child. It concerns a custom among the shepherd folk of the Alps.  In the summer time when the grass in the lower valleys withers and dries up, the shepherds seek to lead their sheep up a winding, thorny, and stony pathway to the high grazing lands.  The sheep, reluctant to take the difficult pathway infested with dangers and hardships, turn back and will not follow.  The shepherds make repeated attempts, but the timid sheep will not follow.  Finally a shepherd reaches into the flock and takes a little lamb and places it under his arm, then reaches in again and takes another lamb, placing it under the other arm.  Then he starts up the precipitous pathway.  Soon the mother sheep start to follow and afterward the entire flock.  At last they ascend the tortuous trail to green pastures.
The Great Shepherd of the sheep, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, has reached into the flock and he has picked up your lamb.  He did not do it to rob you, but to lead you out and upward.  He has richer and greener pastures for you, and He wants you to follow.
Will you follow Him?"
There is a new lamb cradled on Thy breast tonight,
A sweet small lamb, so lately mine
I scarce can keep my arms from reaching out
As though to snatch her back from Thine.

These arms of mine are wonted so to her, dear Lord,
They curved about her little form
So sweetly, and from dawn of time my breast was meant
To be her pillow, soft and warm.

What does one do with aching arms and empty hours,
With silent rooms, and dragging days?
The things I knew before will not avail me now-
Teach me new lessons and new ways.

Take Thou, I pray, these idle folded hands of mine
Which can no longer busied be
With dear, familiar tasks for her...In mercy, Lord,
Fill hands and heart with tasks for Thee!
                                                           -Martha Snell Nicholson