In addition to time in the big city, we enjoy a small ranch where the neighbor runs his black Angus. Life in the country is rarely predictable especially when dealing with animals – domestic or otherwise.
As many of you, we looked forward to a spiritually focused Christmas Eve complete with evening service at a nearby church with candlelight, carols and an uplifting sermon. The Good Lord had other plans as He so often does.
Earlier in the day, we noticed one of the mama cows on the other side of the fence. Not a good thing. So we attempted to herd her back to our side either through the opening we cut in the fence or the front gate. She wanted none of it. We even tossed out cattle cubes, normally a yummy treat and sure winner. After 30-45 minutes of cow coaxing another neighbor joined in. Almost 2 hours later, mama cow simply refused to believe our intentions were pure and motives were for her best. We gave up. After all she still had access to water and grass.
Unfortunately, it was also too late to clean up and make the church service. So, we hurried up to the house, grabbed the Bible and made a mad dash for the clearing in the grove before the sun went down. There we sat on one of the rough-hewn cedar benches gazing at the small stone cross erected a couple of years ago. We opened the Bible and read the Luke 2 account of our Savior’s birth.
Instead of a beautifully decorated church building with gleaming chandeliers overhead we sat in the clearing surrounded by trees with their canopy of branches above. Instead of soft candle light and an inspiring message, we read the simple Christmas story by the waning rays of the sunset. Instead of a beautiful choir, only our two voices sang out Christmas carols as it grew dark. And, instead of “Merry Christmas” wishes from fellow worshippers, as we left the grove, we walked slowly back singing the beautiful words of “Silent Night.”
We may make our plans even for good but God has the final word. Maybe we needed to be with that neighbor at that time. Maybe others saw our attempt at kindness, even to a wayward cow, and God used that. Maybe we needed to be reminded of how we refuse God even when He clearly reveals the way and only desires the best for us. Or maybe just being open to wherever and whenever God leads, especially as we consider the new year, is all the lesson we need.
“Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
(By the way, the cow eventually returned and is safe and sound even as I write!)
Committing All to God, PJ COPYRIGHT ©2012 PJ Gover