Has anyone ever wondered why, in pictures of the Savior as the Good Shepherd, Christ carries the sheep He is bringing back? At least for me, I've always just thought that He was protecting the sheep. But something my mom heard from somewhere and told me changed my perspective quite a bit.
Apparently what happens when one sheep constantly strays from the rest of the sheep is, the shepherd goes after it and, once he finds it, will actually break the leg of the sheep. He carries it back to the fold, and heals the leg. But while that healing occurs, the sheep has to stay close to the shepherd. Then, after the leg is healed, it will not stray from him.
As I thought about that, the significance of that paralleling what the Savior does for us really hit me. When we stray from the Lord's fold, which we all as imperfect people do, the Savior comes after us. The word "succor," which is used in many scriptures and hymns to describe what Jesus does for us, means literally "to run to." Christ literally runs to us when we are lost. Then, he teaches us a lesson that might hurt, maybe a lot, at the time, but is something that in the big picture, we really need to know. What's more is, Jesus doesn't just teach us a lesson and walk away. He teaches us a lesson, then holds us, carrying us back to where we need to be. Then He stays with us and heals us completely.
With these experiences, which I know I have had, we are so much less likely to go away from our Good Shepherd because we realize how He has been there for us no matter what. He doesn't want to hurt us, but is willing to do it because He knows how good it will be for us in the long run. And what is especially comforting to me is that He heals. He is always there, always caring. Always the Good Shepherd.