I looked at my watch: there was just enough time to run home during lunch, not to eat, but to check on the cow who had given birth in the night. She had seemed “not right.” It was still freezing cold, late February, and I had worn an off-white wool suit to work, needing the extra layer of warmth.
As I pulled into the yard, I looked out over the rolling hills, trying to spot that particular cow. The herd was about half way down the back pasture, at least a quarter of a mile from the house. I threw off my heels, pulled on tennis shoes, and took out, knowing I had to to ease my concern before heading back to work. She was a beautiful cow, and worry would be in the back of my mind all afternoon if I went the rest of the day not knowing if she was doing well.
Ten minutes later I was among the herd, looking desperately until I located her at the back fence, far from the others. Hiking up my skirt, I quietly hurried toward her, trying to talk calmly as I got closer. She was gently shoving the babe with her nose, pushing to get him to stand up. It was obvious that he hadn’t been on his feet yet, even hours after his birth, or been nursing as he should have.
Looking down at my suit, then back at the baby, it was a no-brainer. Still talking quietly to the momma, I carefully lifted the baby, and began the long trek to the barn. She followed, understanding her little one (ha!) was in no danger, and lowing to me as we walked. I didn’t think I could make it. The pasture was wet from melted snow, and the calf was heavy. Nothing but sheer determination forced one foot in front of the other as I made the long journey up the slight hill.
Finally I reached the barnyard, walked through the gates that were open into the barn so the cows could get shelter if they wanted, and headed for a stall to set down my burden. At the very last moment, almost the last step, when I could “lay my heavy burden down,” (as the song goes), I slipped. Every ounce of energy suddenly focused on getting that baby down carefully as I went down as well–backwards, flat on my back, in the mud and tons of manure, in my off-white suit.
There wasn’t much I could do; after making sure the little one was standing and nursing, I ran back to the house, showered, changed clothes and grabbed my suit. Putting it into a bag, I rushed out, heading back to work. I ran into the dry cleaners, gave them the bag with the smelly suit and gamely said, “Don’t ask.”
What good are trials, accidents, and things you wish had never happened unless you look for the lessons they can teach you? Not much, so I did. Suddenly I saw several.
In Matthew 18, Jesus illustrates a parable where a shepherd has a large flock, and one goes astray. He said the man would leave the “ninety nine” to look for the one. Are you possibly the one Jesus would look for, who has strayed away? This wasn’t a sheep belonging to someone else, this was one of his own. The animal had chosen to walk away from the others, doing his own thing, looking for greener grass. The shepherd went to bring it back to himself. I went to find the one who had given birth, and bring her, now with her calf, back to the herd. Is Jesus looking for you, even though He has thousands of other followers?
I also thought about the mud–well, let’s face it, the manure. Smell? Wow! Any farmer knows how overpowering it can be, which is why stalls have to be mucked out on occasion! But I didn’t care about the mud, the manure or the weight of my burden: I was concerned with bringing the little one to safety. Did I wait for a warm, sunny day, when I had “barn” clothes on? Or wait for the rain to wash the baby clean? Hardly. I was concerned only with bringing him to shelter while there was yet hope. Jesus is waiting for you, just as you are, with all your past sins, present lifestyle, and “hurts, habits, and hangups,” and holding out His arms to gather you to Himself, and bring you back to the safety of His love. He doesn’t care that you are covered with the sins of the world–He will clean you up. Wash you, so that you will be “whiter than snow.” Would you, in your hurry to run from Him, scorn His love? You’ll never find safety outside of His care.
It was also a matter of urgency. The longer the calf was without sustenance, the less chance he would have. With the signs of the times indicating major turmoil ahead, we have so little time to find the lost ones and show them the Savior who loves them. Are you one being sought, or one who is seeking? We may not have much time.
Lessons are on every hand. Are you looking for them as you go through your day–or are you just going through the motions? Don’t be like the man in James 1: he looks in the mirror, sees himself, but then goes away and forgets what he saw. Look for the Love Notes God is sending you today. You will surely see them.
© Sandra Day, by Kessler Photo