The man’s handshake is strong, as he informs you, “In lambing time, I bed down in here, and will do so again tonight. I know who you are, and I am.  Shepherd in name and occupation.” You ask about the donkey. Shepherd replies, “Safe and sound.”  His eyes sparkle exuding love and laughter as he adds, “His name is ‘Sausage’” You nod, and try to look as if that is a normal name for a donkey.

Shepherd takes down a lighted oil lamp, “Come, we must eat. I have to be up at dawn.”  His hand waves away your apology as he opens the door into a narrow corridor of a stone wall and bare rock.  He explains, “This place is built into the hill.” The corridor ends at a door which he opens and stands back to let you through.  The length of the room has floor to ceiling windows in which you and Shepherd are mirrored.  The room so silent you can hear the wood crackling in a wide grate at one end.

Beyond the open wooden staircase on your right is a kitchen not dissimilar to those found in a caravan.  Shepherd heads into it and calls over his shoulder, “Look around, door to the bathroom under the stairs, bedroom above.” Curious you climb the stairs. The cave rock is only a few feet above your head. The bedroom is only a wide balcony looking over the area below. Bare floorboards are covered with sheepskin rugs. The bed is canvas, stretched at four corners on a foot-high wooden frame.  On top is a thick woolly sheepskin, a sleeping bag and pillow. At the far end Shepherd’s clothes hang on a wooden rail, underneath is your rucksack.

“For in the day of trouble, he will hide me in his shelter; …he will set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5 (AMP Classic)

In times of trouble where do you go to find refuge?

Episode 26