A Cow’s Life

My mother and I are so enjoying our visit to Alabama where we are staying in a friend’s cabin.  To reach the cabin you have to drive through a cow pasture, go over a small hill, and then, there it is, built on a large pond with a deck and dock over the water.  This place of quiet is serene bliss!

We love watching the cows take morning and late afternoon dips, actually gliding through the water with the grace of a swan!  Amazing how they ease in an out, barely making a ripple in the water.  There is one cow in particular that has grabbed our attention.  We call her Miss Independence.

Miss Independence will often be found in the water or in the fields when no other cow is around.  One evening last week we came in late.  It was jet black as our car gently bumped along through the pasture.  Suddenly, in the light of the headlights, an image appeared.  It was Miss Independence.  The rest of the herd was nowhere to be seen.  They often disappear into the wooded areas along the outskirts of the property.  

As we drove by, Miss Independence raised her head for a moment to peer at us; then just as quickly, she went back to her private munching.  We can tell she enjoys times when she is in the middle of the herd, but she definitely craves her alone moments of munching and dipping by herself.

I thought to myself, how like Miss Independence we should all aim to be — loving times with friends and family, but understanding the beauty of alone time.  It is necessary to our spiritual development to have alone time with our heavenly Father when we glide through the waters of His refreshment, recharging tired hearts and minds, and to munch on the holy words of truth and guidance in His Word, so needed to get through each day of our busy lives.

We can get so very busy, even doing good things, that we can easily miss the very best — intimate fellowship with the One who loves us and sustains us, who guides us along the best paths, and feeds us with the best of spiritual food for our journey.  So, today my prayer is, “Lord, help me to be more like this adorable cow, this Miss Independence who understand the beauty and value of alone time.”

“Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’  He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”  Mark 6:31

Wars Of Darkness And Light

There comes moments in all of our lives when we feel a need to get away and rest.  We may call it a time to chill out or to recharge ourselves.  It comes when we feel tired from our work, perhaps stressed from the demands of the everyday workplace.  It may be that even family needs and responsibilities are heavy to bear.  We tell ourselves we need to find a place to relax in mind and body.

In our place of rest we imagine the worries of this world fading away even if it will be for just a few days.  We desire to slip away to a place where we may nurse an emotional wound and revive an exhausted body.  Hope for such relief is strong but often shattered too soon.

You see, it’s in places of solitude that something either wonderful or dreadful takes place. True rest and rejuvenation depends on who wins the battle of the mind.  In our mind, battles between darkness and light take place.  The wars in this zone of thought either revitalizes or demoralizes.  It is a war not wanted but it is there nonetheless seeking to destroy all hope for any rest.

We all experience the effects of such battles.  There we are longing for rest, so we get away to a quiet place.  Then it begins.  Our yearning for a sea of tranquility turns into storms of exhausting thoughts.   Voices of darkness begin its invasion, drowning hope with a wash of reminders of arguments had, desire for revenge; lust and greed surface, the pain of loss and rejection suffocate.  We are sinking.  We are losing the battle.

Our spontaneous reaction to this unwelcome onslaught?  Fight or flight.  Too often we run for our lives, getting as far away from damaging thoughts as we can.  We get busy.  We do something fun.  We watch a favorite film.  We do whatever it takes for the dark and loathsome thoughts to go away; and they do, but only for a time.  When we once again seek solitude, the darkness swiftly returns to haunt us yet again.  Exhaustion grows.  Inside we cry out for rest but it refuses to come.  We are caught in a cycle, believing that if we get away once more, this time rest will come, but once again, hopes are shattered and exhaustion continues to weigh us down.  You see, we will never know the full benefit of physical rest until we learn the key to mind rest.

In the battle for our minds, flight is never the best answer.  We must fight but not with weapons of this world; with supernatural weapons of what is unseen.  We are reminded of this in II Corinthians 10:3-4, “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.  We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”  The weapons that God makes available to us are the only source of victory over the accusations and destructive thoughts of the prince of darkness.  Philippians 4:8-9 gives us the key to rest: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise… Then the God of peace will be with you.”

When we choose to stand, amidst all the pain of dark thoughts, something extraordinary takes place: the accusing and dark voices begins to recede, losing strength, not able to shout so loudly.  Instead, as we make the choice to stand against the attack by focusing on truth, we begin to be able to hear the Light speak louder than the voices of darkness.  When the Light of God’s truth speaks, a sense of sweet peace replaces the fear, gentleness comes to soothe grief and loss,  and joy and hope lifts our faces from the sea of despair where we can breathe in goodness, kindness, and the greatest which is love.

Darkness will never cease attempts to take over our minds but if we choose to stand, to allow God’s truth to penetrate the wall of doom, then truth itself will shatter all that is not of God.  Remember — Light always diminishes the darkness.