I have no idea whose cows they were, or why I was wandering around with them in their enclosure — wearing a dress, mind you. I was only five, we were visiting my grandmother, the grownups wanted to go see somebody (probably relatives) and their cows, and I was along for the ride whether I wanted to go or not. I only knew it was chilly and wet, and that I was almost up to my pristine little shoelaces in mud.
As a dedicated tomboy, I didn’t mind dirt one bit, as long as I was dressed for it. No sir, put me in old play clothes and I was good with soil, dirt, dust, sand or even grass stains, but mud was another matter. Especially thick, squishy mud that smelled of cows and was getting all over my new red tennies. The grownups kept talking and talking as I picked my way around in mud that seemed to cover the earth; there was no escape from its squishiness.
Then a cow stepped away from in front of me. There, over near the fence: a rock that stood at least three inches above the mud, and was large and flat enough to stand on. I squished my way toward it. At last, something solid. At last I could get up out of this miry clay I was in. Imagine the relief and confidence I felt as I jumped up with both feet to land right on top of that one bit of solid rock. Imagine my dismay as both feet sank right through the “rock” and I found myself standing, this time up to the top of my pristine little ankle socks, in cow manure.
The thing is, I really believed that cow pie was a rock. It looked like a rock. I wanted it to be a rock. I didn’t just intellectually agree that it was a rock; I actually placed my entire weight on it, depending upon it to be a rock. But no matter the depth and sincerity of my belief, the thing I had placed my faith in was still a cow pie. Not a rock.
I was wrong.
About ten years later, something similar happened, only this time I got it right. See, I knew that Jesus Christ had died for my sins and had risen from the dead, but I had never actually placed my faith in Him. I believed the facts about Him but had not jumped up onto the Rock of Ages with both feet. Then one night as I fretted over eternity and where I would spend it and how I could be sure, I just jumped. All I said was “Yes,” but just like that, God forgave my sin. My fear and guilt vanished, replaced by a deep sense of safety. This time, the “rock” turned out to be as solid as I’d hoped.
It was not written as humor, but I want to laugh every time I read Psalm 40. It begins,
“I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.”
Whenever I read these sentences I think of my cow pie and the Rock. Truth goes on being true whether I believe it or not. And lies, no matter how plausible or appealing they may seem from my perspective, will never bear my weight.
Be careful what you believe. Take it from me, putting your hope in the wrong thing can leave you feeling pooped.
Thanks for reading!
This makes me look at cow pies in a whole new light! Thank you for sharing that story of faith. How meaningful the scriptures become when applied to our daily living. May God bless you with more insightful observations and writings.
I remember some of the old folks talking about walking to school barefoot on a cool morning and seeing a fresh one, steam rising from it’s mound on that frosty morn. The boys would race to it to see who could stand in it first and warm their feet.
Cindy: Thank you!
Tim: Eeeew. Glad I was not around back then.
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Reblogged this on Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story and commented:
This post first appeared here in August of 2010. I’m re-posting it because I want to tell you about my five years as a fake, and this story from my earlier childhood gives you some background.
This is going to get shared with “my girls”.
It’s an honor to be shared. I hope my story helps some of the ladies!