I woke to Bubby's bellow outside my window at 5:00 this morning. Again, David and I jumped out of bed and found our way outside in the dark. Bubby stayed where he was as I went to him, rubbed his head, and visited quietly with him. Then, as I called him and walked toward the pasture, he followed. This time he went with only a little hesitation--no balking.
As I made coffee to start my morning the old-fashioned, traditional way, I reflected on Bubby and the similarities with community friends and students at Friday night's football game. This last week, Bubby escaped repeatedly. We have fixed the fence in numerous ways, kenneled him in the barn, and made sure his needs are provided. He keeps walking out of the pasture (yes, we installed an electric fence). Friday night I had the opportunity to see and spend time with a number of the students and parents I worked with at the high school last year. So many of them have pains, anxieties, and frustrations that weigh them down. No one is able to adequately calm their hearts or provide peace. But when I can come alongside them repeatedly, I have the opportunity to build a sense of trust.
God is the One who throws the lasso and allows the pressure, but I can come alongside them with kindness, reassurance, and truth. It is not a one-time interaction. As I have the opportunity to present Christ, they balk and shake their heads. Over time they watch, they listen, they wonder. And God works. I am not the cow-whisperer. I am not the people-whisperer. But I can speak truth, and love, and grace for it is mine to share and offer. The pasture is a wonderful place. It is the best place. But until others see the goodness of God and He gives them the faith to trust, I will continue to walk alongside, to love, and speak truth. And I have hope because the Head Roper and I are on the same team.
"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." (2 Corinthians 4:1-15)