Ranching and farming were a constant part of the first four decades of my life. My most profound life lessons were learned from livestock, wildlife and nature. Here I “heard” God speaking to us through His creation. And it was in that natural world that my faith in God was cemented; my certainty of His faithfulness being as sure as the rising of the sun every morning. So it was to that natural world that my mind turned a short time back as I faced one of life’s storms.
Sitting in meditation one morning, focused upon those lessons drawn from that time, I realized that God had long ago given me the answer to the problem we now faced. Traveling mentally back to a day two decades ago when I had lost my sense of direction in a raging blizzard on the vast South Dakota prairie, I shivered as the memory became vivid in my mind. Facing freezing in the sub-zero storm, even as darkness began to settle over my isolated little corner of the world, in almost hopeless despair I released the reins and allowed my horse his head. My logic told me that he would just drift to a sheltered place away from the brunt of the storm as horses on the prairie do during such blizzards. Instead I was puzzled when he turned about and headed a direction that I knew was absolutely wrong. An hour later, confusion turned to amazement as I realized the gate beside which my horse had stopped was the gate to the barn and the house. The shifting wind and my logic had turned my internal compass around completely and had I continued trying to find my own way I would have frozen to death in the darkness and fury of an empty prairie. I am alive today because I released control of my own life to God and He had placed within this animal an instinct that led me from the storm.
From that experience my mind journeyed to other such blizzards that are a part of my life’s history. In those next moments I realized the difference between God’s will for my life and mine. Cattle will turn their tails to a storm and drift ahead of it regardless of where the winds blow them, but on that South Dakota prairie I had become intimately familiar with buffalo also. (I lived where Dances With Wolves was filmed and know over half the “extras” from that movie.) And buffalo don’t drift from the storm. They gather together—the strongest and healthiest in the front—and turn facing the storm.
And here was the answer that I learned from God’s creation that morning. Those creatures created by God are designed to not lose their way when the storms blow nor to turn tail and just drift wherever the winds blow them. They are designed to face the storm. Cattle on the other hand aren’t a very “natural” animal but are the result of man’s selective breeding over hundreds of generations designed to create an animal that is radically different from what they were in the beginning. Man has changed God’s design, turning a wild animal into a walking food crop thus, in a storm their actions aren’t in their own best interests as well as those animals that still exemplify God’s pure design.
By the same token, it is man’s distortion of our created nature which robs us of God’s will for us in life’s storms. God has equipped us with a spirit of power and courage; man’s inclination is to run in fear, to avoid the conflict, take the easiest course.
Yes, God designed me to face this storm, and I walked out that day confident that God would guide me as I went boldly forward. I had a friend to encourage, a course to chart, a witness to testify.
Perhaps you are standing at some crossroad in your life today, facing a storm? Know this; God has not given us a spirit of timidity. He has equipped us with a spirit of power. He has built into us the power to face any storms we will encounter, but we must release control to HIM and allow HIM to show us the way.
Jack was raised in a Christian home where he spent his youth preparing to preach God’s word. First published at thirteen, writing and speaking became Jack’s passions. Whether through newspaper columns, magazine articles, radio broadcasts or public speaking engagements, Jack continues to share his heart with his readers. His life’s motto: To Know God, and To Show Him To Others.