Peace In the Midst of a HerdTuesday, December 06, 2011
Of all the towns my husband and I have called home, one of the more interesting places we have lived has been a little mining town in the rolling foothills of California called Angels Camp. Some of you may recognize that name from the writings of Mark Twain as he spent quite a bit of his time travelling through that region of California during the Gold Rush of the mid 1800's.
Angels Camp is well known for its annual county fair, better known as "The Jumping Frog Jubilee" which was made famous (or infamous!) by Mark Twain's short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" (1867). You would think that living in a quaint town that was made famous by frogs and a rich history of gold mining would be interesting enough, but no -- there's more. Angels Camp boasts several working cattle ranches, one of which was only a few miles from our home.
Living in this rural location, much of my time was spent driving our children to and from town. On one occasion in particular, a “not your everyday occurrence” stands out in my mind. As I sped around a corner of the oak tree lined highway, I came face to face with several hundred bovine! I immediately put my foot on the breaks and slowed down. My car was the only one on the road which was now completely blocked. I felt trapped as I inched forward and I wondered how I would get past them to take my children to school on that day. Moments later the cattle were on all sides of us, stirring up dust and encircling the car. I could move no further. I felt confused and a bit of panic set in as the beasts lumbered by me. A steer is a rather large animal when it is right next to you – up close and personal! I felt boxed in, surrounded and pressed in on all sides. The road was impassable and I didn’t know what to do. Then suddenly, through the cloud of dust a cowboy appeared in front of me riding upon a horse. Yes, there really are still cowboys in California! (And in case you are wondering…he was dressed the part complete with chaps, a leather vest, Stetson hat and a shiny belt buckle. Can’t you just picture it?) I looked up at him through my car window and saw that he was motioning for me to continue driving. The man was calm and unruffled as he came alongside me and slowly directed me through the massive herd of cattle. His reassuring presence settled my nerves and my panic subsided. I kept my attention on my guide as we made our way through the crowded highway and a peaceful calm settled upon me. He stayed by me all the way until my car was beyond the steers and the road was clear.
This memory has sometimes come to my mind when I have felt weighed down and boxed in by the chaos of life. At times our jobs or other responsibilities can seem so overwhelming that we feel hard pressed and confused as we try to figure out how to maneuver our way through the turmoil. Our focus often shifts from God to our troubles and stress begins to overtake us. Have you ever felt like that? Completely overwhelmed and surrounded by burdens that seemingly block your forward progress? Take heart! God’s word promises that He will never abandon us. He will be our Guide.
Maintaining our focus on God's character and not on our circumstances is essential when navigating through life. We will all face trials and “road blocks” at one time or another but when we focus on His promises our spirits will be comforted and we will feel His peace. Knowing that God will never abandon us will help us face every obstacle in our path. So, let’s remember when things are hectic and we feel a bit frazzled, to keep our eyes on our Guide. In the midst of a herd of troubles He’ll stay by us and lead us through.
Living for Him,
Post Script: I originally wrote and posted this in June of 2010. However, since this week is the week we remember God's gift of peace, I thought it appropriate to post again. Also, I've added an Advent tab above with my gift to you during this Christmas season. Blessings!
Thought Provoking Thursday
The Monday "Sharing His Beauty" link-up is almost here! Let's start the week giving praises to our Father together! This month, I'm also unwrapping the Gifts of Advent on the link-up date. I hope you'll join me! (The linky will be open on Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time). See you then!