It was a sunny day and windless which made it feel especially hot for a farm on the Oregon Coast. The farm had about 50 Guernsey and Holstein milk cows and calves and a 1,400 pound Guernsey Bull called Pat.
I was in my sophomore year working my way through high school on Jack McDonald's dairy farm. Jack was a true father-figure-role model. He was the first person I ever heard say grace before meals. I never heard a single swear word or any unkindness either. His physique reminded me of a smaller version of the incredible hulk. He both farmed and logged and was a bit introverted and often communicated with just a nod, smile or gesture.
Jack also had a sense of humor that sprang up out of the blue. It made even tense situations calm. I still recall my first day milking cows. I was carrying an 86 pound, 10 gallon milk can to the cooler when I tripped and spilled the milk into the creek. I froze...thinking I'm such a klutz he'll fire me on the spot.
Jack looked at me with a deadpan face...just about melting me. Then he smiled broadly and laughed jovially. "Larry, it's no use crying over spilt milk." That was an adage as old as the sun, but boy, just like a cow's tail, it swished my stress away.
Pat, the Bull was staked in the ground with a 20-foot-long- steel cable holding him by a ring in his nose. He could graze and was relocated when needed. My boss also anchored him to a deeper stake next to the creek for drinking water.
I'd seen my boss lead Pat to the creek and or new grazing areas several times. So, in my eagerness to earn my keep I decided I would take Pat to the creek today. I unhooked Pat's cable from the stake in his grazing spot and, holding the steel cable tightly, led him down the hillside to the edge of the creek. Unaware that Jack had just come around the barn corner and was watching, I bent over to hook the cable in the creek-side stake.
The loudest scream I've ever heard filled the whole county. "Look Out Larry!" It was Jack's voice and instantly I glanced toward his voice and saw death above me. The giant- three-quarter-ton bull was up on his hind legs starting to come down on my back. He would have pummeled me to death instantly. Immediately I rolled sideways over and over as Pat's front hooves slammed into the ground beside me.
Better yet was the 2nd Lesson: the Lord often uses people to do His will. The old story about the man complaining to God that He didn't rescue him from his trauma though he prayed over and over expresses this well. Heaven's reply was - I sent your neighbor to help you...but you didn't accept him. Then I sent the fireman - but you turned him down encapsulates this lesson well. The Lord uses His created beings to do His will.
He certainly caused my boss to rescue me from instant death for which I'm forever thankful.
My wife and I watched a true story of a woman, along with her dog, who parked her car at the trailhead and then hiked into a rocky terrain. A little over a mile in she fell and was injured badly enough that she could barely crawl. Talk about desperation. It was scorching hot and she only had a small container of water. She'd also dropped her cell phone when she fell and couldn't reach it.
She knew that she'd be missed at home but how would anyone find her out here? Her dog stayed by her side. Then the shadows darkened the hillsides and the temperature dropped and chills ran through her body.
Back home her family had notified authorities and rescue people began a search but darkness shut them down for the night. The next morning her car was spotted and the search began. But where was she? Which direction had she gone? For hours rescuers scoured the area...but could not find her. The day grew hotter and her water ran out. Then she pondered...could my dog help me?
She looked him squarely in his eyes and said, "Go ~ find help." She gestured to him. Then she collapsed from the fatigue, pain and lack of sleep.
At the trailhead rescue camp the chief saw a Golden Labrador coming towards him. He wondered where he had come from but was interrupted by a question from another rescuer. Then the Lab came up to the chief, wagged his tail and darted back up the trail and then suddenly paused, turned and looked back at the chief.
But the chief just looked back at the grid search map. So the Lab came back to him and nudged his leg and then darted back up the same direction. The chief said, "I think he is wanting us to follow him." They set out behind the dog who would run way ahead stopping every little bit and looking back at them. 3 1/2 hours later the Lab turned down the hillside and wagged his tail at them to follow. In about 20 more minutes they found the woman when the dog led them to her side. She was rescued.
The Lord uses a variety of created beings and inanimate objects to work his plans.
(1) Balaam's donkey saw an angel blocking the road and after Balaam beat him 3 different times it still obeyed the Lord and refused to go past the angel. Then the Lord gave the donkey a voice with which to chew out Balaam and tell him God's message. (Numbers 22:21-39)
(2) Moses had fled from Pharaoh and was hiding near Mt. Sinai. Suddenly he saw an angel in flames of fire in a bush that didn't burn up. (Exodus 3:1-6)
(3) Jonah was disobedient and fled from God into a ship. God caused a great storm to imperil the ship. The crewmen threw Jonah overboard. But he didn't drown he was swallowed by a whale that vomited him on land 3 days later. (Jonah 1:1-17)
(4) Jewish leaders jealously told Jesus to silence the praising crowd as he rode on a donkey into Jerusalem. Jesus responded, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." (Luke 19:40
(5) When Pharaoh's army was chasing Israel to the Red Sea's edge God's angel placed the cloud pillar between Israel and the Egyptians. It was pitch dark on the Egyptian's side and bright and shiny for the Israelites for the entire night. During the night the Lord brought a fierce east wind causing the waters to divide and drying out the river bed. In the morning Israel walked across on dry ground with a wall of water on their left and right and got away safely. (Exodus 14:19-22)
(6) When Israel was besieged and captured by the Babylonians the invaders grabbed the gold and silver goblets from the temple. King Belshazzar gave a great banquet and drank wine from them. As they drank they praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. But suddenly the banquet was silenced as a human hand appeared on the wall and wrote a death message to the king. (Daniel 5:1-30)
Have you experienced someone or something unusual that caught your attention? Have you sensed that you were being helped as you stumbled through a difficult situation? Were you in a car wreck far from town and hurt badly ~ only to discover that the driver in the car right behind you was a Trauma physician? Did your Golden Labrador save your child from drowning...when you couldn't get there quickly enough?
Are these all just coincidences? Luck? Happenstance? Or was the Lord whispering softly: "I'm trying so hard to get your attention. Come Home my child!"
For God says, 'Your cry came to me at a favorable time, when the doors of welcome were wide open. I helped you on a day when salvation was being offered.' Right now God is ready to welcome you. Today he is ready to save you." (2 Corinthians 6:2, TLB)
Today the world is battling a horrid pandemic. Some are turning to or returning to their spiritual roots. Sadly, faith in the Creator, has been so horribly assaulted by our world's cultures that many don't have a clue how to seek His love nor realize that this life is a preparation for our future destination.
If you're anxious, fearful, ill, uncertain of the future and not sure if you'll make it another day ~ write and ask for spiritual or emotional support or prayer. One very dear woman wrote, "I think of you often and remember all the help you gave me during a really dark couple of times. In fact I do believe you saved my life."
Each of us needs to realize that there is an Eternity ahead for which we should prepare. A wise man, when considering his future, said "He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet into the grave."
There's that soft voice again: "I'm trying so hard to get your attention. Come Home my child!"
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