“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37
I don’t know about you but for me this has been quite a year. A year full of challenges, victories and heartaches, blessings and losses. It’s been a year full of promises, but at the same time a year that has challenged my faith and made me ask at times; ‘Did I really hear the Lord?’ And if I did; can I keep believing for the promises.
When everything and everyone says things are one way, and God says ‘No, this is the way it’s going to be’, can I find a joy in the as of yet unseen?
Honestly, I think I have reached a new level of faith in recent months, I had to, because to not would have meant my end. I am not strong enough to live by sight—because what I see only discourages me often times—I have to live by faith. That is a lesson we all must keep learning and it is what those who took part in the events leading up to the birth of Christ had to learn. We indeed serve a God who specializes in doing the impossible—if we just let him, if we’ll just say yes.
Many years ago two women, from different generations and towns, but who shared an uncommon faith believed, said yes, and the world was forever changed;
Luke chapter 1
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1
The Bible is full of amazing stories, stories of the impossible happening—miracles. Often the people in the stories have a hard time believing what they hear from the Lord. But not these two women—Mary believed, I want to be like Mary. (This is Mary, Mary believes, be like Mary.) Elizabeth believed as well. Two common women who didn’t care what people said or did, they knew their God had spoken and they rejoiced in the hope they had.
I decided that since this might be the last Christmas our boys, Rowdy and Randy, are around, I am going to share the classic story that many who have known me for a while have no doubt heard; but a great story that bears repeating nonetheless.
The boys, as we call them, are our twin geldings. We had all girls in our home as we raised our three daughters so there was the girls and there was the boys, and we all knew who we were referring to, and still do. Rowdy and Randy are 24 years old now, old for horses but not extremely, but considering they are twins that should not have even survived the womb, yes, that is very old.
They are having some health issues in their later years that may force us to put them down as their lameness causes them more pain then is fair to put them through. But then, we thought this day would come several years ago, and the experts thought it would come even long before that, so who knows?
The boys aren’t the only twins in our family anymore, we now have twin grandchildren, now three years old. So, apparently twins run in our family. Something that makes our other daughters real nervous, or maybe it’s just because I like to remind them of that.
Actually, twins amongst us humans isn’t that rare, not like it is in horses. In fact, most vets, and other horse experts, would tell you that it’s nearly impossible. Just like the birth of our boys should have been. I am certainly no horse expert, and 24 years ago I was much less of a horse expert; ‘Yeah, our mare had twins, great, two for the price of one, what’s the big deal?’ I had no idea at the time that it would be so hard for horse people to believe.
So, join me as we take a trip down memory lane to the Heyu-cow Ranch, Montana.
Rowdy and Randy
One fine April day while I was out and about in the barnyard and I noticed that our Quarter horse mare, Babe, was acting peculiar. She was nervously going in and out of the barn and neighing softly as if looking for something. I wasn’t too familiar with foaling horses but I had been around enough cows at calving time to recognize that Babe, who was great with foal, was thinking of having that foal real soon. I put Babe up in a stall in the barn and kept an eye on her. At bedtime she still had not foaled so I went to bed. We knew that Babe had thrown a few foals before we got her so we weren’t too worried about her.
At 2 am I dragged myself out of bed and went to the barn to check on her. The first thing I saw as I peered into the stall was a bright eyed little foal lying in the straw and looking around at his brand new world. I then poked my head in to see the other end of the large stall and there stood Babe. It was then that I noticed something very peculiar; Babe had eight legs! I stepped into the stall to get a better look and there on the other side of Babe was another foal going after mother’s milk; Babe had twins!
After getting over my astonishment, and comprehending the situation as much as my 2 am, half asleep brain could, I made sure everyone was okay. Both the foals had already been cleaned up by Babe, I watched them both suck before I left them alone and headed back for my bed.
As I crawled back into bed satisfied that all was well and thinking that nothing too extraordinary had happened, Donna woke up. “What’s happening” she asked. I told her that Babe had two new baby boys. “Ha, ha, very funny” she said, “what really happened?” I replied, “She had twins, you know, Pete and Repeat, Thing one and Thing two.” She exclaimed, “That’s impossible!”
Knowing more about horses than I did, she knew that for a horse to have twins, especially healthy ones, was virtually unheard of. I finally convinced her that I was serious by telling her that I could not possibly be that clever in the wee hours of the morning and that everything really was all right.
Donna woke the girls up early in the morning to tell them the good news, Cally, who was four, was only concerned with what color they were, she was hoping for a paint. Jessie, who was two, was just excited to get to go see the baby horsies. Shortly after sunrise we all went to the barn to see the new family. They were beautiful; sorrel brown with a white blaze down the front of their faces just like their momma. As is typical of new foals, they were all legs, necks and fuzz.
We promptly named them Rowdy and Randy, telling them apart by the white “sock” above Randy’s left rear hoof and the opposite white “sock” above Rowdy’s right rear hoof. We then called our veterinarian to share the good news and he all but panicked saying, “Twins, what? They’re all right? They can’t possibly be alright, at least one of them has to be a runt!” We couldn’t convince him that he didn’t have to rush the 30 miles, all the way from Shepherd to Blue Creek, but he insisted on coming out.
After looking them over carefully he finally conceded that they seemed to be alright and gave them each a shot of anti-biotic just to be safe, (or maybe so he could charge us for something to pay for his gas) all the while telling us how unusual and rare this was– “one in ten thousand” and that the chances of foals born as twins both surviving their first year was “one in fifty thousand.” He left us with some horse milk replacer telling us that we would have to help feed the babies because there was no way the mare would be able to feed both these colts.
Neither Rowdy nor Randy wanted anything to do with this phony milk from a bottle. Apparently Babe hadn’t been listening when the vet said she wouldn’t be able to feed them both because they were both getting plenty, often feeding together, one on each side of Babe.
When they were about a week old we let them out of the barn for the first time. They cautiously ventured out the door and then took off running, both in different directions. Babe was beside herself, not knowing which one to chase after first. She eventually managed to get them both rounded up and herded them back into the barn where they would stay out of trouble.
Around this time ol’ Bud, the owner of the Morgan Stud who sired the boys, came out to see them. As he stood admiring them in the corral he was as proud as a grandpa over these boys his beloved Morgan- Parade– had sired. He told us his father and his grandfather had raised Morgans and these three generations of horse breeders had never seen a set of twins.
Rowdy and Randy grew up the best of friends, always looking out for one another. They are both retired now, but in their day Randy loved to work cows. And Rowdy, who would rather just stay away from the cows, just loved to be ridden, especially by the girls— The boys, twins that “couldn’t be” yet still are.
When Rowdy and Randy were born the experienced horse people were truly perplexed at such a thing as a healthy set of twin foals born unassisted in a cow barn to an old mare, crossbred to an even older stud; “That’s not possible”.
This was the same sentiment that was expressed over and over again by the religious “experts” so long ago when they were told that the Messiah had been born in a stable to an unmarried girl from Nazareth. Yet the lowly shepherds, living in the fields with their flocks the first to hear the news, had no trouble believing. They believed that that the Lord himself had come to earth as a baby boy, and they hastened to worship this heaven sent Savior.
Later it was the common working men and women and even some Roman soldiers, “tax collectors and sinners” as the experts called them, who embraced this carpenter from Nazareth as the Son of God he claimed to be. The experts in the Law, who should have been the first to recognize and rejoice in the coming of the long awaited Messiah, instead had him crucified and then gloated over their success in stopping this threat to their precious religious traditions.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Another Mary, a woman who had formerly been possessed by demons, Mary Magdalene, was the first to see this impossible Savior after his resurrection from the dead and quickly shared this information with the commercial fisherman who had devoted their lives to following him. These hardened fishermen became the first to share the news with the world that this simple man born in a stable and crucified on a Roman cross was indeed the risen Savior.
Jesus laid down his glory, and then his life, so that all men might see and believe that God does indeed love every one of us; don’t let what is “not possible” get in the way! To many people who think they know so much end up missing out on the truth because they simply cannot accept the impossible.
“Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”.
Lord, I believe, help me to live I the joy of my hope, and help me to hear your voice in the year ahead, and give me the courage to say yes.