Recently I was reminded of a time I spent on a loved one’s cattle farm. This particular visit we were working with the cattle one-on-one, giving them medication and much-needed individual attention. As the day went on, one particular cow impacted me, she was spunky and fought the process the whole way, we got her into the funneled shoot and once she was in the head gate, I put the rump board in behind her to hold her in nice and tight, no backing out. This poor gal – she thrashed so hard, causing the farmer to get a nose clamp, this was a metal clamp with a large rope attached to it, he placed it in the nostrils of the cow and brought her head up and tied her off. This was done for her own safety. She fought so hard that she ended up on her knees, and there she stayed. If she would just calm down! Oh the pain, not for her, but for me! I reached out and patted her, tenderly saying, “Just yield, it would be less painful.” As the words escaped my lips, I stopped and sensed Holy Spirit tap my shoulder with a divine nod. YES! If I too would just yield to my Master, it would be less painful.
How often do we find ourselves in the ‘shoot and headgate’ of God (if you will)? He is wanting to prepare us, heal us, create His character in us, and teach us – but … we fight it. We thrash, bawl, and complain, oh it may be uncomfortable, and perhaps even feel a bit boarded in – the hemming of God. David speaks of this, but in the context of BLESSING; “Before there is a word on my tongue You know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in – behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Psalm 139:4-6) He goes on to say, “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (v 14b)
I have to admit, I can relate to the sweet bawling cow, I too once required the nose clamp (for my own good) after I thrashed about for a bit, I sensed God’s hand on me, and it was GOOD – I know that full well!
Sometimes we come to God quietly and other times kicking and screaming – either way, thank you, Lord, for the hemming!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
* Please know, no cows in the above story were harmed, our spunky bawling cow was only in the head gate just a couple of moments and soon released out into the pasture.
Recently I revisited Genesis 3, where God came to meet with Adam in the garden. It says “… He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” This said with such ease, as if it where a daily occurrence. Can you imagine God taking a stroll in YOUR backyard?
Yet today, this was no casual stroll. You see, Adam and Eve had just eaten from the only tree that God planted a sign in front of stating, ‘no eateth.’ Sure enough, our ancestors of all ancestors duth eat! Now they were hiding. Hiding from God.
“But the LORD God called to the man…” (verse 9) asking one of the most important questions ever stated in the Bible, in my estimation, “Where are you?” It does not describe the tone in which God said it, but I believe it was NOT a thunderous loud “WHERE ARE YOU!” (ok admit it, you hear Charleston Heston in your head don’t you.) God being all-knowing, He knew exactly where he was. The question was not intended to find the answer, it was intended for … Adam. “Where are you?” This spurred Adam to consider his location … he was hiding, placing intentional distance between he and his God. His situation… he disobeyed.
“But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'” God was pursuing Adam, with tenderness, loving compassion. Sure He could have rigged the tree with a divine security system, that at the mere touch, heaven would zap Adam and Eve with enough force to turn them both back into dust. But He didn’t. He pursued them.
We know the rest of the story, banishment from paradise, consequences, sweat and pain. “But the LORD God called to the man…” God has ‘called’ throughout history. The Bible is the story of God’s pursuit of man. He pursues you, and pursues me. He has provided every avenue for us to respond to His call. God loves us so much, that at times there is the need for Him to ask us AGAIN, “where are you?”
Often our relationship with God, is one as a child, we cozy up in His lap, but there are times we squirm out and run off and play. “Where are you?” Another question has settled in my heart, “What would it look like, really look like, in God’s pursuit of me, if I allowed Him to catch me, ALL of me?” O to be caught of God!
King David penned the beloved Psalm 23, in the latter verse he closes with, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” This follow is not a mere meandering behind, it is a PURSUIT. God pursues us.
Found among other poetic venues of David, Psalm 139 “O Lord, You have searched me and You know me… You hem me in behind and before.” Saying also, “You are familiar with all my ways.” The Lord knows where we are, He would like US to know as well.
So where are we? Has God visited our backyard recently? Perhaps we are hiding. Do we hear Him calling? Can we stop and allow Him to catch us in the pursuit, and be caught of God, He then can enfold us in His love, goodness and mercy. The grace filled pursuit of God.
It doesn’t matter WHERE we are … “But the LORD God called to the man”
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” ~ Heb. 10:24)