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Out Our Way: Return, lil dogie

Hosea 14:1-9 "Return,O Israel, come back to the Lord your God ..."

Out our way, spring can be a busy season, especially with all the newborn calves jumping sound. Naturally some are a bit curious and tend to wander and sometimes get lost, which is why Charlie and I ride the arroyos and tree stands as well as going up ridges to get an eagle's view of the whole layout.

A young calf still needs mama's milk and guidance. She can show it where to find water and where the best grass is to be found. She can give him some protection from wild Montana winds and the occasional late Alberta Clipper. And she, along with the rest of the herd, can provide both community and protection, for mountain lions from the Bear Paws still roam the area. But now and then a calf will leave the herd and wander off. That's why Big Mike sends Charlie and me to regularly ride "cattle patrol." (Understand Charlie was "Border Patrol" for many years so it was sort of our inside joke.)

Anyway, we would ride the fence line of course, but also check the various arroyos and thorn bush growths that were up in the higher parts of the pasture. More than once we found a lost calf stuck in the trees or the gully and got it out. Also we would ride to the top of the higher ridges overlooking the whole pasture and the land clear to Canada. Sometimes we would spot a "dogie" ( translation: "motherless calf) from there.

In any case, once we found the stray, we attempted to move it back to mama and the herd. I say "attempt" because some of those little cusses were stubborn and arrogant and refused to go. But we eventually managed. Had we not, the calf would have likely died of starvation, exposure, or predators. But try explaining that to a jug-headed calf!

So I get God's frustration with me and many other believers who have managed to wander off from the Way. The way is narrow that leads to God and wide and broad is the way that leads to destruction (Matt.7: 13). But newborn calves have an excuse for being so dumb - what is mine ... or yours?

But this is the good news shared through the prophet Hosea - it's not too late! Even now God is sending out His word and the Spirit to seek us out and help us return.. We may, like a jughead calf resist, but He won't quit on us. He wants us home.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Brother John  


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].


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