You wouldn't think it maybe, but I am pretty sure that some of life's greatest lessons can be learned living on a farm. Its a simple country life...but there are such rich truths that come out in just the everyday nitty gritty of living on a farm + working with animals.
One of my first farm chores as a child was feeding our baby calves with my younger brother. We were just big enough to manage the bottles and I remember such feelings of satisfaction knowing that because of our work, those little calves had full tummies. At the tender ages of seven and six, we had such a sense of accomplishment and achievement knowing that we were doing our part to make this farm run.
In the recent years, I haven't been involved as much with the animals on our farm. But I still love filling in for my brothers occasionally with the calf chores. Last fall I took over for a month so they could spend every possible minute preparing for the national Bible Bee. It was such fun to do again...I loved it.
It just so happened that over this time we had quite a few new baby calves that were born. For those of you farmers reading this, you know about this!
But for everyone else I will explain.
Getting a newborn baby calf to latch on to the bottle can be a pretty difficult job. Every calf is different, some more stubborn than others, but most will fight this new thing that is being forced into their little mouths.
There was one particular morning that I was dealing with an exceptionally stubborn baby calf. Try as I might, I could just not convince this calf to take the bottle. It just wanted nothing to do with me or the bottle.
Now, I knew it was starving hungry, and that it both needed and wanted the milk. The problem was, it didn't realize that the source for its comfort was in this strange contraption I was trying to force into its mouth.
I took the nipple and squirted some warm milk towards the calf's mouth. The poor little baby about went crazy---jerking its head this way and that, trying to find the source of that delicious nourishment. But every time i would bring the nipple up to its mouth, it would shove away, as if determined to find the milk source on its own.
We had a full-fledged battle, baby calf + I. You would think I would have been the easy winner, but this little calf was fully as stubborn as I was and bent on doing everything BUT what I was trying to make it do---drink that milk!
After quite the little battle, I was the winner and the calf finally latched on and started drinking.
And this all made me think....
You know, I am such a baby calf sometimes. Sometimes I am just so sure that I know what I need to grow. I am the calf, and God is holding the "bottle" of my life. The bottle is that lesson, or character quality, or that something particular that He knows I need to learn in order to GROW. And the only way for me to grow + get the milk, is to latch on to His bottle! He knows that I need this milk in order to grow in life. He has my best interests at heart + He knows that learning this milk is vital to my spiritual growth.
And me? Oh yes, I am definitely wanting the milk. Absolutely! I want spiritual growth in my life. I want God's blessings + instruction. But too often I don't realize that the milk is coming from the bottle. I am so sure that I can find the source for the milk on my own. Even though He is so gently and surely trying to guide + show me, I resist, wanting to find the "milk" my way.
And so I shove away, and try to make my own way, my own plan.And every single time, I just end up hungry, and frustrated, and unhappy, because my way wasn't best, after all, and His was. All along He was there waiting for me, and I was pushing + shoving trying to run my life how I thought it should be, instead of trusting that even though it didn't make sense, His way was the best choice.
Next time you + I are tempted to go with our own agenda, may we will remember this baby calf, and its little story of struggle, and be reminded that God's way is best, after all!