As I ran the back roads through the country this evening, enjoying the beautiful weather God hath given us on this late summer’s day; I couldn’t help but take comfort seeing my cattle resting peacefully, in perfect solitude with nature and without care or need. My journey took me past two separate farms where I have cows, each herd were reposed in the same manner. To a farmer, there are certain things in life that bring inner comfort; one being a barn full of hay, and the other a healthy herd of cattle peacefully grazing in their own pasture. It struck me that God probably takes us in the same way. Now before you get upset that I’m calling us all a bunch of cattle, what I mean to say is that to God, I can only imagine that we sometimes seem so needy, so unsatisfied that we push our fence lines, never having enough of our own, like a bunch of unruly cattle. How we yearn for the grass on the other side of the fence, which always seems taller and greener. The problem with that, as my good friend Doug Stuart says, “It’s usually got twice as much manure on it too.”
Earlier this summer, you might recall that I had a calf born blind. I called her Helen. She was nearly succumbed to dehydration when I found her. She had been unable to nurse from her mother for the first 48 hours. I had been out of town and was notified of her birth by the caretakers at the farm where the herd she belonged too is pastured. For two weeks I fought to save the feeble calf, using every bit of animal husbandry I knew. I even broke down and called the vet who confirmed I was doing all that was possible. During this time I more than once had to fight off vultures that sensed the end was near and wanted only to gladly to help her on her way. It is not uncommon for buzzards to begin eating an animal before its death, taking the tender parts; eyes, nose and any soft flesh that is unprotected. It was only due to the unending diligence of her mother that the latter did not occur. Day and night Colleen, Helen’s mother, stood guard foregoing her own health in order to protect and tend to her dying infant. In the end, she survived and today is as healthy and vibrant as any calf her age. I guess seeing this act of sacrifice only strengthened my resolve when at times, I felt it was better just to, as we farmers say, “Let nature take its course.” When God is in control, anything is possible.
In many ways, animals can show us more about ourselves than we realize. Our Heavenly Father never abandons us and when it came to sacrifice, he gave us his only begotten son. How much more could anyone care for you than that? Colleen suffered for her calf but she never gave up, even when all seemed lost. At times, when I would pick up the limp nearly lifeless body to try to get her to swallow one more mouthful of fluid, Colleen would fight to keep me away. She never gave in to anyone touching her baby. Likewise, God doesn’t allow “Nature to take its course” with us, rather, he is there with us each step of the way. Do we falter, of course? Do we still make mistakes, yes? But this is all part of the character that makes us who we are. At times, we can be more needful than a dying calf named Helen, but without reason. In the grand scheme of things, it must mean God has a pretty God-sized sense of humor knowing that our petty complaints will be answered in good time. However, when things seem darkest, he is there as well, providing for us when we call and for many, this is the only time that they do.
In a way, it all made me think of the scripture in Pastor David’s scripture this morning, Luke 13:11, “And behold there was a woman who had the spirit of infirmity for eighteen years, and who was bent over and in no way could raise herself up.” Jesus called to her, to come to him, and when he touched her she was healed, able to stand tall. The emphasis today was not on the fact that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, but rather that the woman had been suffering with her affliction for eighteen years; a spiritual, not physical affliction. Like this woman, we too often place the emphasis on things in life that are either addicting or use so much of our time that we don’t leave time for the things in life that are important, bringing ourselves down to the point we become needful of spiritual comforting, a fact only in and of itself. All we have to do to free ourselves of these self-inflicted ailments is to call out to Jesus. The song, “He Touched Me” is all you need to know at this point, for one touch of the Holy Spirit and you will be set free, to relish in the shade under that big oak tree on the edge of life’s pasture; to be at peace for a change with the world.
On these blissful breezy lazy summer evenings, when nothing seems out of place, I can see God sitting back in his rocking chair on that great big porch in Heaven breathing a sigh of relief, knowing that his creation is for the moment at peace with itself.
To this end, I pray that you find peace with yourself and give God the Glory on this glorious day he hath created.
How was your Sunday?