When Your World Falls Apart
by Terry Magness
I'd like to share some things I experienced recently in my own backyard that remind me of God's promises for uncertain times. We live in the country overlooking a gentle rolling landscape of trees and pastures. It's beautiful and it’s spring. A herd of cows satisfy their days munching winter grass in the field below our house. When the grass is gone, the farmer brings in hay twice a day, honking and driving slowly across the field unrolling the bales. The cows come running. They are content. Their needs are met. So I ask, am I a content and grateful person? In all honesty, I have a strong temptation at times to grumble and complain. King David said, "I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds." Psalms 9:1 ESV. He certainly knew trouble and heartache. It is amazing how an attitude changes when we give thanks and rehearse God's goodness. Why worry? God has promised to take care of us.
One day I noticed a cow separated from the others, standing over a newly born calf. She nudged and licked her calf for some time trying without success to get him onto his feet. She knew that if he didn't get up and drink her milk, he wouldn’t survive. Then she did something I had never seen. She straddled him with her udders over his head, and carefully laid down in front of him so as to put his food supply right under his little nose. He must have chosen well because soon the little guy stood by his mother's side.
Peter said, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." 1 Peter 2:2 KJV. When Job's world fell apart, he uttered these words. "But he knows the way that I have chosen: when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold... his way have I kept... I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." Job 23:10-12 KJV. As Christians we know the choices we make determine our outcome. Each day a new little black-nosed calf was added to the herd, until there were sixteen dotting the pasture. God's grace multiplied and blessed.
Then their world suddenly changed. The sound of a truck horn echoed across the hills. The cows were all leaving. I saw a solitary calf in the far corner of the field looking frantically in all directions. His mother was nowhere in sight. The few remaining cows with their calves trailed the rest of the herd that followed the red feed truck. It crossed the pasture, drove through the gate, crossed, and entered another pasture on the other side of the road.
The confused young calf froze in place. One of three cowboys rounding up the strays saw him, rode over, and tried to herd the little guy toward the last departing cluster of cows, but the calf refused to budge. He moved a few feet, then circled back, and planted his little hoofs right where he had originally stood, as if to say, “I'm not going anywhere, and you can't make me.” Slowly, the cowboy dismounted, walked to the calf, picked him up, and gently laid him on his side. Before he could scramble to his feet, the man secured a rope around his lower legs, then left to help the other cowboys herd the stock through the gate. It took nearly forty-minutes to get all the cattle out of the road and into the other field.
The cowboy did not forget the frightened and helpless little calf. All three cowboys and the truck made their way back across the tired pasture to the calf. They picked him up and laid him carefully in the truck seat. The processional then delivered him to his mother who was waiting in the new pasture plenteous in water and sweet grass. Isn't this a beautiful picture of our heavenly Father's relationship with us?
Let's be real here. When our lives take a sudden and dramatic shift, we too, may feel a bit lost, out of control, and maybe even afraid. Isn't it wonderful that there is a God in heaven who loves and cares for us? He is in full control. Nothing about our situation or its consequences takes Him by surprise. He is near to help, to protect, and to position us for greater things.
Finally, here are helpful Biblical keys for standing strong, confident, and secure through times of difficulty and uncertainty.
Rejoice in the Lord always (delight, take pleasure in Him); again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit (your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience) be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do no be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything (every circumstance and situation) by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your (specific) requests known to God. And the peace of God (that peace that reassures the heart, that peace) which transcends all understanding, (that peace which) stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (is yours). Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God's word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things (center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart). The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me (Paul), practice these things (in daily life), and the God (who is the source) of peace and well-being will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9, AMP
Terry Magness is author, speaker, and founder of Grace Harbour Ministries, a Biblically based teaching and discipleship ministry to the nations. Terry is passionate in helping people to know God and the hope, healing, and power He offers for overcoming the challenges to victorious Spirit-filled living through Jesus Christ. As an ordained Assembly of God minister, Terry is called to undergird, encourage, and empower the church and its leaders. Her years in Biblical study, pastoral counseling, and more recently, coaching, have equipped her for this unique role.
Terry enjoys writing, photography, art, and fishing with her husband, Don. They share with joy two adult children, Greg and Valarie, and three beautiful granddaughters.
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