You anoint my head with oil. Psalm 23:5b
Dis changes everything. Obey becomes disobey. Respect is changed to disrespect. Ability becomes a disability. Grace is transformed into disgrace.
All because of dis. Dis is a power trio of letters. And we’d be hard pressed to find a more powerful example than the word appointment. Disappointment is the burden which reminds us what we hoped would happen, didn’t. We wanted health, we got disease. We wanted retirement, we got reassignment. Divorce instead of family. Dismissal instead of promotion. What do we do with disappointment?
When I’m disappointed I turn to these six words: “You anoint my head with oil.” I can hear wondering what a verse on oil has to do with life’s disappointments. I spent time googling sheep yesterday, so let me explain.
Bugs bug people, but they can kill sheep. If flies succeed in depositing eggs in a sheep’s nose, the eggs turn into larvae, which drive the sheep insane. When a swarm of nose flies appear sheep panic … for good reason! They stop eating, can’t sleep in peace and the entire flock is disrupted. For this reason, the shepherd anoints the sheep. He covers their nose with oil repellent and the flies leave the flock at peace. Interesting, huh?
This peace lasts until mating season when these calm creatures put the ram in rambunctious. They strut around to lure ewe’s and if there’s another strutting near his gal, the rams lower their heads and they start butting heads. To prevent injury the shepherd anoints the rams. He smears the slippery substance over the nose and head. This lubricant causes their heads to slide off each other.
But sometimes the sheep still get hurt, which is the third reason the shepherd anoints them. Thorns prick, rocks cut or a sheep rubs its head too hard against a rock. Sheep get hurt. As a result, a good shepherd checks his sheep daily. He wouldn’t want anything to get infected.
Neither does God. Just like sheep, we have wounds. We have wounds of the heart that come from disappointment after disappointment. If we’re not careful they can fester. Like sheep, we get irritated with each other and butt heads, and then get wounded. Many of our disappointments begin as irritations. Not large-scale attacks, but rather the day-to-day swarm of frustrations, mishaps and heartaches. You didn’t get the scholarship. You don’t make the team. Your husband doesn’t notice your efforts. Like sheep, you don’t sleep well. You may even feel like hitting your head against the wall.
The rest of our wounds come from just living. Sheep have to face thistle, rocks, etc. But we have to face aging, loss, and illness. Some of us face betrayal and injustice. Live long enough and each of us will face deep hurts of some kind. Thankfully, we have a good Shepherd. Jesus tends his sheep if we let Him.
Not teachers, counselors, but God does the healing. Have you taken your burden of disappointment to God? You’ve probably told all your friends, your neighbor, and your family about it! Before any more time passes, take them to God.
In order to be anointed, sheep have to stand still, lower their heads and let the shepherd do his work. And when we come to God we must come with a humble heart. Bow before Him and trust in Him to do His work.
Sheep don’t understand why the oil repels the flies. They don’t understand how the oil heals their wounds. Actually, all the sheep know is that something happens in the presence of the shepherd. And that’s all we really need to know, too. It’s worth a try to trust in Him.