Out Our Way: His Mother's Voice - Psalm 27:7-8
Last updated 1/29/2021 at 7:44am
Out our way, an image that often comes to mind is the day Charlie and I found a lost calf up in a remote section of Tiger Ridge. We were just checking fence that day and so were quite some distance from the main herd. And as we rode along we spotted this little calf wandering around and occasionally bawling for his mother.
Long story short, Charlie and I headed him back toward the main herd, adding to his confusion and terror, no doubt, for he started bawling louder and louder as we herded him along. Well, we topped the ridge and found the main herd - several hundred head I imagine - and somewhere from within that mass of cow/calf units a big mamma cow raised up her head and answered his call. Well, we didn't have to push that little fellow any longer. He had been crying out for mama and when she called, he knew her voice and raced toward her as she came ambling along toward him. Charlie and I turned back to finish checking the fence, so we didn't stay to watch the reunion, but I suspicion that was one happy calf when he heard his mama's voice.
Today, I thought about that calf listening for his mother's voice and thought of my need to do the same when it comes to God. Like that calf, I have wandered off on my own, forgetting God in my journey. I am so focused and distracted by so many other things. At first I don't notice that I am wandering away. In truth, I don't even care - I am too busy going my own way. I think what a big "calf" I am, independent and master of the universe. I don't need "mom" and forget she even exists as I "blaze my own trail." But, somewhere along the way, I discover I am alone, cold, hungry and lost.
In my pride, I may refuse to acknowledge my anxiety and frustrations, determined to push on, even when I have no idea where I am going. I tell myself I don't need anything or anybody and tell myself that famous lie, "I am the master of my fate and captain of my soul." Brave words spoken in defiance of my reality, but in the end quite hollow and empty. For I am alone, lost, tired and, yes, afraid.
Of course, I can "soldier on, cowboy up," and congratulate myself on my great courage as my soul shrinks and starves to death in my proud defiance. Or I can, like the Prodigal Son, "come to my senses" (Luke 15:17) and realize something is wrong. Why am I content to remain in my present state of emptiness and sadness, wandering without direction, purpose or hope? "I will arise and go to my father's house" (Luke 15:18). The problem is, I don't know where it is. I have wandered so far and for such a long time I don't know the way. And, like that lost and bewildered calf, if I have the courage to do so, I shall cry out to the Lord.
Now, Charlie and I don't think of ourselves as " angels" - at least not in the sense most people think - but when you realize the word "angel" in both the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New, literally means "messenger," well, maybe that is just what we were for that calf. The term "angel," therefore, is not limited to the Heavenly Host, but can be in any form, even old cowhands who simply show up to help a lost calf come home. We are surrounded by angels, and most are just ordinary folk like you and me. Indeed, sometimes you and I may actually be angels ourselves, folks God has sent to help someone else. We become His messengers and preach the Gospel of God's love, not by talking about it or quoting scripture, but simply by living it.
It is well there are so many angels around, for there are an even greater number of "lost calves." God may be sending you today to help one. And you may also be one of the lost calves, so remember the Gospel - i.e. "Good News" - while the lost calf is seeking his mom, she is also seeking him. She does not wander about aimlessly searching - that's what the "cowboys/angels" are for. Instead she remains where her calf left her, waiting and constantly calling out to him. Eventually, if the calf will keep calling, the angels will come and guide him back - and in the midst of his terror, he will hear his mother's voice.
As the Psalmist reminds us, when we are lost we are to call out to God, for God will be listening and waiting to answer.
Be blessed and be a blessing!
The Rev. John Bruington is the retired pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Havre. He now lives in Colorado, but continues to write "Out Our Way." He can be reached for comment or dialogue at [email protected]