I suppose if The Professor and I were sheep farmers I might have learned the lesson long before now. I cannot help but wonder if the oft-quoted verse,
“We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…” Isaiah 53:6
is so deeply saturated by the culture in which it was written that we can’t replace “sheep” with “cows” or some other livestock that is a little more familiar to the American mindset.
There have been times in my life when I questioned God. Oh, I haven’t struggled with the question, “Is God Real?” No, I wrestle with the question, “Is God still faithful?”
When He gives me exactly what I don’t want, is God still faithful?
When He withholds the very thing my heart desires most, is God still faithful?
When I am grieving, broken and wounded and seemingly without joy, is God still faithful?
Was He faithful when my two year old nephew died of brain cancer?
Was He faithful on September 11, 2001?
Was He faithful when we were diagnosed with infertility?
Was He faithful when our foster boys were removed from our home without warning because of a false accusation?
Was He faithful when 20 children and six women lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary?
And so it was, while watching my farmer husband care for our cows, that my heart realized how self-centered my thinking often is. Our cows, with new fences, plenty of hay, and fresh water, are all but content. Do they trust us? Yes.
And yet in the evening as the sun sinks low behind the forest trees, even before The Professor dons his plaid jacket and rubber work boots, Millie and Abe start their whining. The farmer feeds them every night. He provides fresh hay, repairs broken fences, and sprays for flies so their ears aren’t bothered by itchy bites.
But they whine, mooing and fussing and probably making our neighbors like us a little less all because their farmer has not fed them exactly when they wanted it.
They have judged the farmer’s faithfulness by their own expectations.
And my heart quickens as I realize how very much I am like Abe and Millie.
My heart is bound by Him, eternally secured by the soul-saving blood of Jesus. And yet it wanders. Straying away from what I know, and wandering aimlessly and joylessly in what I feel.
Because I measure God’s faithfulness by my own expectations.
I measure God’s faithfulness by what He has done or what He can do, instead of reveling in who He is: He is faithful. He is holy.
He is faithful.
When I doubt.
When I fear.
When I wrestle.
When I am faithless.
He remains faithful.
I’m learning to reign in my wandering heart. I’m learning not to measure His resplendent faithfulness by my simple, narrow-minded expectations. The learning is hard and painful and filled with heartache. But I am learning.