God sets the lonely in families -Ps. 68
We all want to be a part of a family, it is the condition of the human heart, we need the love and security that only family can give.
Family was God’s idea, it is his design for humanity, for all of nature really, we all need each other. We need a place to grow and flourish emotionally, physically and spiritually. God goes out of his way to make sure we all know that and have opportunity to be joined to family—even if he has to be the one to fill the roles of missing or dysfunctional family. And he does it quite well.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his Holy Dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:5,6
A quick story-
A while back when we were still in the cattle business one of our heifers, Karen, had her first calf. As is customary for cows, she went to a secluded place to have her calf. For the first few days of their lives calves don’t usually move too far from the spot where they were born, relying on remaining motionless to keep them hidden for protection.
I went out to check on this calf the day after it was born, while Karen was at the feeder with the rest of the cows. Like I said, most calves when they are that young won’t move from where mama put them until she comes back, but not this calf; I didn’t get within twenty feet of her before she jumped up and ran as fast as her unpracticed, wobbly legs could carry her in the opposite direction from mama, the feeder and the barn. I followed from a reasonable distance thinking when she got to the fence she would stop, well she hit the fence without even slowing down and stumbled right through the strands of barbed wire and kept going.
Now I had a dilemma. I knew if I didn’t retrieve her, Karen would never know where her baby, who was now on the wrong side of the fence, had gone. So I crawled over the fence and took off running, I managed to get in front of her, turning to face her as I waved my arms and hollered in an attempt to get her to turn around. I’ll never forget the sight of that calf coming at me swinging her legs wide and stiff, not quite mastering this running thing yet, with eyes that were looking straight ahead but not seeming to be seeing anything. She blew on by me like I was not even there. Well, all I could do was continue the chase. She was like a calf possessed and I decided right there her name was “Lucy”, (I’ll let you figure out why).
It seemed to become a challenge for her to plow through every fence she could find, barbed wire and electric. After following her through three more of the neighbors’ fences I knew nothing was going to stop her. I had been hanging back hoping she would just find a place to hide so I could go back and get the pickup and lasso and haul her back. Instead she was getting closer and closer to the highway with apparently no intention of stopping so I knew I had to do something, and soon before she was lost for good.
Once again I ran ahead to intercept her. This time as she ran toward me with that wild unseeing look in her eyes, I dropped to the ground and swung my leg under her, knocking her feet from under her. I then quickly jumped on top of her. Well, there I sat on top of a ninety-pound calf, both of us out of breath and pumped up with adrenaline wondering what to do now. I had no rope and was about a half mile from home.
I took stock of what I had, which was the shirt on my back. I took off the long sleeved denim shirt I was wearing and used one sleeve to tie Lucy’s front legs together and used the other sleeve to tie the hind legs together. Thus I left Lucy hog-tied, lying in the neighbor’s field while I walked back home in my undershirt on this chilly March day to get my pickup truck. Once I got to my truck I drove, partly on the road and partly cross country, back to where Lucy lay, retied her with some bailing twine, which is forever present in the back of any ranchers’ truck, reclaimed my shirt and, with great effort on my part, threw this heavy squirming calf into the back of the pickup.
I then hauled her back to what I’m sure she thought would be some terrible fate at the hands of this big scary monster that had captured her. I drove her up to the feeder where Mama Karen and the other cows were still eating and dropped the tailgate to reveal a bawling terrified calf. As I unloaded her onto the ground all the cows came to look at this calf that was making all the commotion and before Lucy knew it her mama had recognized her. Instead of the awful fate Lucy had expected, she received a few comforting licks and a warm dinner of milk from her mama.
Since she was now also in the barnyard, Karen led her into the barn after her meal, where they both spent the night bedded down in clean warm straw. Lucy, the wild eyed calf, whom I thought for sure was loco, turned out to be our best replacement heifer that year and raised several fine calves of her own. Go figure.
Thoughts on “Lucy”
We all need a safe place, Lucy found a safe place–at least she was taken to a safe place. Even though she tried to run away for fear, afraid of the rancher who only wanted to help. Too many of you come from messed up family situations we cannot even imagine- God wants to give you another chance, a chance to be joined with a much larger eternal family, to find a safe place.
God does indeed place the lonely in families. Perhaps you have been running from the Rancher, fearing the Good Shepherd thinking: “Surely God cannot be pleased with me, cannot possibly forgive me, or even care about me anymore.” You could never be more wrong, He has been watching you, even chasing you, wanting you to just stop and see him, to recognize that he just wants to take you home, to bring you to a safe place.
He loves you, you may not realize it but he has even tackled you, thrown you into a rig and brought you here to read this today. Not so you could be shamed and ridiculed, not so you could go away wishing you could have half the joy you see other’s reveling in. He brought you here today to rescue you, to show you how much he loves you and just wants you to trust him, trust him to heal, forgive and restore you, to put you in a family— the family of God.
To prove his love and to secure for you that place he gave his Son. The Good Shepherd himself, laid down his life, shed his blood, took our punishment to ensure that we could come home safe and sound with nothing preventing us from lifting our eyes and our voices to heaven and proclaiming, “I am a child of God and Jesus is my Lord!”
A real family is a place of unconditional love, of acceptance and peace— today I want to extend the invitation for you to become a part of Family, the family of God—if you are not already. This is a family with a Father who loves you unconditionally, always has and always will and he is just aching for you to come to him—just as you are—to open up your heart and allow his cleansing Holy Spirit to enter into your heart and remove the last barrier that has prevented you from knowing and feeling that love, sin, that politically incorrect word that nobody uses anymore yet still haunts the heart and wreaks havoc on everyone who doesn’t know Jesus.
Jesus didn’t come and die to condemn you, quite the contrary, he wants nothing more than to take away the guilt and shame, the fear and doubt that has become a barbed wire fence around your heart. If you’ll just let him. Even if you have known Jesus for years, you can still feel like you have run too far and crashed too many fences to ever come back— that is a lie from the pit of hell—you do not have to fear the good shepherd— your Father is waiting for you.
Today you can become part of the family of God, you can come home. Just ask, and he will hear.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom 10:9
Pray: “Lord I believe, help me overcome my unbelief. I want to be part of your family, today I trust you as my Lord and Father. Now help me to find some brothers and sisters to share the journey- place me in a family! Amen.