The Rescue

“Turn your ear to listen to me; rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe.”

(Psalm 31:2, NLT)

To most folks, one cow sounds like any other. Before starting my own herd, I too would’ve told you they all sound, move, and act the same. Reality check! Like anyone with a soul, cows have things that make each one unique. In my small herd, you get to know every cow’s distinctive voice, their likes and dislikes, and even what makes them smile. Yes, cows smile.

With tail crooked and not coming to feed that morning, I knew it wouldn’t be long. As if on cue, as soon as Mr. John walked out of the house after breakfast, he rushed back in to tell me that “Uno” just calved. What he didn’t tell me was where she had just had her baby. Working on breakfast dishes at the sink, I heard “Uno’s” distinctive distress call. As soon as I opened the window blind, my heart began to race.

On this cold spring morning, “Uno” was at the edge of the steep north bank of the pond when she laid down to deliver her calf. As cows do, she rolled onto her left side and let nature take its course. Unfortunately, her position put her calf in jeopardy that one or two more steps might have removed. As the calf exited mom, it did so over the edge of the bank, causing it to slide down the bank. With the calf about to enter the frigid water and unable to reach it, mama did the only thing she could, she called out for help.

Newborn calves, before mama cleans the remains of the amniotic sac from them, are ultra-slippery. When this frictionless material met the frosty ground, the bank became a Slip-n-Slide. Unable to stand immediately upon birth, calves can do little beyond gasping for their first breaths when born. The baby lay half-submerged in 30-degree water. As only God could have known, the bank held a small ledge at the water’s edge that kept her head above the waterline. One foot in either direction would have likely resulted in the calf’s total immersion in the freezing water.

Racing out the door, Mr. John and I arrived at the pond about the same time. With no thought about the water moccasins, snapping turtles, or cold, we both hurriedly made our way down the slick bank to the calf. As I entered the water, I could feel the mud at the bottom of the pond sucking me in. I lifted the calf out of the water and Mr. John grabbed her and held on until I could get my footing on the slick bank. We then slid her up the bank. On top, with mama calling out, we carried her safely out of harm’s way.

Mama “Uno” wasted no time in moving me out of her way with her head and proceeded to stimulate and care for her baby with her tongue. As John and I climbed into the UTV, we simultaneously exclaimed, “That was close!” Followed by a “Thank You Lord.” We took up a position twenty yards away to give mama and baby some space. As mama lovingly cleaned her newborn, Mr. John and I shivered in the cold morning air. The exhilaration of the rescue had provided enough adrenaline that neither of us minded the cold. As we calmed down, its effects dwindled, and the coldness set in.

After fifteen minutes, we both shouted encouragement as the little heifer struggled to stand for the first time. A few minutes and several failed attempts later, she was on her feet and searching for nourishment. As “Uno” seemed to glance our way and low her appreciation, I moved back up the bank to gently guide the pair off the hillside. On flat, level ground and away from danger, mama and baby could nurse, rest, and bond safely.

After changing out of our wet, muddy, and cold clothing, Mr. John and I sipped coffee and thanked God for watching over this new life. We watched them from the window as mama led her baby away to settle in and rest on a bed of hay. “What’s next boss?”, John asked with a smile.

Smiling back, I responded with, “Prayer.”

After warming up, we continued with the day’s chores. The rescue became simply another task in a day filled with chores that needed doing. In my mind, though, a nagging thought lingered. How did this compare with how God rescued me? My mind knew my heart held a lesson the Holy Spirit needed me to grasp. I also knew it had been far too long since I had expressed my appreciation for His rescue in my life.

When is the last time you thanked God for rescuing you? #Rescue #GodIsGood #HeIsWorthy Click To Tweet

Later that afternoon, I found the answer I was searching for. Like the calf, I was drowning (in sin) and required rescue from what was certain death. Spiritual death, in my case. And upon my rescue (salvation), I was unable to stand in my faith. I needed nourishment (the milk of His Word) to grow stronger and learn His ways. My first steps in faith were wobbly and unsure, but in time, I grew stronger and steadier. The new calf’s rescue was a metaphor for how God rescues His greatest creations.

I realized the Holy Spirit was reminding me of the importance of discipleship and how we more mature Christians have a responsibility. We are to help those who are yet unable to help themselves. Throughout the New Testament, we are called to help and serve others in God’s name, both those within the body of Christ and beyond. It seems I needed a reminder of my responsibility to those within my family of faith as much as those I evangelize outside of the church.

As Christians, we are to serve those inside our family of faith every bit as much as those outside. #DiscipleOthers #HandsAndFeet Click To Tweet

I was reminded of these words below, with which I’ll close this post.

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet
on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which
he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes,
you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
–Saint Teresa of Avila

God showed me His appreciation a few days later. While feeding, little “Gianna” (the rescued calf’s name) stood and watched as mama was eating from the trough. When she lowered her head, I noticed the white spot on her poll (top of her head) was heart-shaped. “Thank You Lord.”

God’s blessings friends,

72 thoughts on “The Rescue”

  1. I just love your stories and how you always sense the Holy Spirit’s application. Thank you J.D. Holy Week is the perfect opportunity to remember His rescue and renew our appreciation.

  2. J.D., I love the lessons your herd delivers to us all! I thank God that when I was on that slippery slope which would have caused me to drown, He came to my rescue. And now, my friend, your post has me singing:
    “Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul.
    Thank You, Lord, for making me whole.
    Thank You, Lord, for giving to me
    Thy great salvation so rich and free!”

  3. Evelyn Mason Wells

    Just what I needed to read this morning, as I am watching over my granddaughter who awoke with a tummy ache. Your “cow accounts” always take me back to the farm farm where I grew up and the cold mornings and farm chores which went on, as I dressed for school. I wouldn’t take anything for the privilege God gave me to grow up with His animals which He loves so much. Thank you so much for your post. By the way, I’m so glad Gianna and Uno are safe and sound. Thank you, Lord.

  4. A beautiful message of faith and trust. Uno trusted you to come and rescue her baby and you and John answered her call. We know when we call on our Lord, He will answer. Your message brought tears of joy. Thank you, my friend.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Katherine. I have sometimes wondered if our animals, who I believe sense God’s presence too (perhaps better than some of us humans), view us as “under-shepherds” as my pastor calls himself? I just saw them a while ago while feeding and they’re both doing great.

  5. Edwina Cowgill

    I love how you always find spiritual lessons on your farm! This one is especially appropriate as we approach Easter. And I was especially blessed by the thoughts of St. Teresa of Avila. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Ms. Edwina. As mentioned earlier, I hadn’t really considered how this applied to Easter and the Resurrection message but it surely does ma’am. Thank you so much!

  6. Wow, J.D. My life seems so dull when I get a glimpse of one of your ordinary days. But I must admit, I’m happy to get to witness your adventures without joining you on a cold muddy ‘slip-n-slide’ toward some 30 degree water. But the real blessing is more than knowing that a helpless little calf got rescued and safely restored to her mama. The lasting benefit was to have joined you in being drawn back to a review of my own rescue. It’s not hard to feel a connection to the hopeless situation that little Gianna was facing. She had done nothing to earn the love and care of anyone who could help her. She was not even aware of how precarious her situation was. She needed help from someone who knew much more about what she needed than she did, who had strength she didn’t have, and who was willing to risk his own welfare to come to her aid, she would have been lost.

    Thank you once again for bringing us into another template that allows us to fill in the blanks with our own adventure–one that has an ending that is out of this world. God bless you for bringing us along and sharing another inspiring visit to the ranch–and give Gianna a hug for us once in a while. 🙂

    1. Woo! That’ll preach right there Mr. Ron! When’s your next book coming out sir? Powerful message. I love how you can take an idea and bring such a powerful lesson from it. Thank you.

  7. Thanks so much for showing how our Lord Jesus uses everyday life to teach Biblical truth.
    Have a blessed day.

  8. You had me on the edge of my seat as I read this story about mama and her newborn, J. D. There’s never a dull moment at the Cross Dubya! And there’s never a lack of God’s lessons all around. I do love the quote with which you closed this post, too.
    Blessings, my friend!

  9. I would not have thought your story could get better. But then, there was that heart!
    My, my, my, what a wonderful story.
    Gianna —- perfect! “God is gracious.”
    Thank you for blessing me again, dear friend.

    1. Amen Ms. Stephanie. I had no idea how perilously close I was to eternity without God until after He rescued me. Many are lost and dying and they don’t even realize it. Each day, I pray God give me one person to whom I can show God to in some way.

  10. I was with you and Mr. John on every step of the rescue! From your first glance up from the kitchen sink until Uno lowered her head in thankfulness. Just then, the reflection of my rescue by the LORD gave me pause, like Uno, to bow my head with thanksgiving. I needed that moment! Thank you. I love how the Holy Spirit envelopes you, J.D., to create such moving and memorable work. The quote was a beautiful addition: God’s blessings, dear brother.

    1. Awww… thank you Ms. Kathleen. Realizing that we’ve all needed rescuing is a humbling experience for sure. Recognizing His sacrifice for me is one of the ways He helps me to remain humble. God’s blessings ma’am.

  11. Whew. That WAS close. Like Jude says, “snatch them from the… er.. fire (but a freezing pond is as bad), but he was speaking of our lost friends and family. Thankful for God’s saving grace. (And your quick actions here.)

    1. It’s probably silly to some Ms. Jackie, but as a horse person, I know you’ll understand that in some ways, these animals God has entrusted me to care for are “family.” Thank you for all your encouragement and support dear friend.

  12. What a sweet story. And yes, it does remind me of God’s rescue of me. My life could have gone so many wrong ways. Yet God intervened to bring me to Himself. I am so grateful. Yet I need to remember and tell Him more often.

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. Life on our Cross-Dubya can certainly be humbling ma’am, but it’s never boring. 🙂 I too need to remember to tell Him how grateful I am to be His rescue. More importantly, I need to show it by how I live my life.

  13. Wendy Dellinger

    What a touching story, J.D., brought tears to my eyes. It’s so wonderful how the Lord ‘preaches’ to us through all aspects of nature—and yes, reminds us of His incredible goodness to us. I love your stories, thanks for sharing your world with us!

  14. As always, J.D., you are able to teach a spiritual principle from the happenings on your ranch. What a great picture of Christ rescuing us as you rescued the newborn calf. I am so thankful you were able to get the baby out of the water. Blessings, friend!

  15. Reality so often becomes analogy on the Cross Dubya. I wonder if in “cattle world” Uno tells the others the “Rescue Story.” I love that Zac Williams song, because we all have a rescue story, don’t we? Great post, sir.

    1. Haha! That’s a great question to ponder Ms. Dottie. Perhaps it would go something like this:

      Uno: “Yeah, that’s right. When I birthed that baby I called out to Papa and he came running. He knows that when I call, he better answer. I don’t mess around.”
      Aunt Louise: “We all saw him scramble down the hill and jump in after that little gal. He was so brave.”
      Uno: “Papa wasn’t brave, he knew I’d get after him if he didn’t. He’s afraid of me you know, I weigh nearly nine times as much as he does. He’s a good papa though. Remember how he took care of Dante, you remember, Frances’ boy, when he was so sick last year. Last time I saw that little butterball, he was over 500 pounds!”
      Aunt Yolanda: “Yes Lord, we can always count on Papa to take care of our babies. Look at how well he takes care of us.”

      LOL… This could be a comic strip. Am sure grateful God prompted me to action and Mr. John and I were able to take care of things before we reached the point that she was drowning.

  16. Jeannie Waters

    This ranch story is a perfect metaphor for rescue from sin. The longer I walk with Christ, the more I realize how helpless we are—like a newborn calf. Thank you for this beautiful picture and the reminder of our responsibility to disciple others.

  17. Beautifully written–your suspense had me also fighting the mud and the slippery hill in my imagination! Such a perfect analogy of the Easter story and how Jesus rescued us from death, hell, and the grave. You are such a good papa to your beloved herd, and I know they love and trust you with their lives–just as we trust our “Papa God” and love Jesus with all our hearts. I’m thrilled for your new baby calf who is stamped with a heart from heaven. Praise God that everyone is safe and sound! Blessings, dear brother.

  18. Your messages have truly taught me to observe and appreciate cows and all of God’s creations. I love how you tie your daily experiences to God’s love for all. Have a blessed day dear friend! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ms. Tammy. As I thought about this later in the day, I too found myself on my knees, thanking God for His great rescue of me. I’m so pleased to know that I wasn’t alone in my need to daily praise Him for all He has done, all He is doing, and all He will do in the future. He is the God of promise, isn’t He?

  19. Once again I’ve learned something new about cows. As I read your message, I kept thinking about how God knows our individual voices too. In the midst of millions of people praying, He hears me and responds. We are blessed by our heavenly rancher as He rescues us daily.

  20. I love that God initiated his love for me. I have no doubt he did what I could NOT do. But praise him readily and often? No, I don’t. How grateful I am for your “Uno visual aid”. What great lengths God went to save us!

  21. Kathy Collard Miller

    No fair! You made me cry. I feel so loved by God who rescued me out of the cold depths of sin. Thank you, Jesus. And thank you, J.D.

    1. Such kindness. Thank you Ms. Candyce. Most appreciative ma’am. It’s always fun to wake up to a new calf, because it reminds us of God’s always-present care (even when we’re sleeping), but when intervention is needed, He is quick to make us aware. I wish I could report that we’ve always saved every calf or cow, but God knows the lesson He wants us to learn before the emergency arises.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Absolutely. And yes, “Gianna” is doing wonderfully. She’s sporting a new earring (a tag) and everything now. Thank you Ms. Kathy.

  22. J.D., this is such a beautiful story of rescue. Glad the Lord had you and Mr. John aware of the situation and how you saved the calf for mama, Uno. And thankful the Lord rescues His greatest creations. Thank you!

    1. I too am amazed at how God gives us “Spiritual Awareness” about situations here at the Cross-Dubya, and life in general, Ms. Karen. When I thought about how God orchestrated that whole series of events, knowing beforehand that He would place me in front of that small window overlooking the pond from my kitchen sink, I am overwhelmed at His goodness. He knew I would act and He trusted me to do what He has instilled in me to do. I’m humbled when I think of how He rescued me at the perfect time, and has done it throughout my life, even before I truly knew Him. Amen dear sister, and God’s blessings.

  23. There’s never a dull moment, is there, J.D.? I am riveted by your ranch stories, and your application is perfect. I stopped and thanked our God for my own rescue. Thanks for the reminder God’s mercy extends to all.

    1. Amen Ms. Annie. We have all needed rescue, some of us needs rescued daily it seems. Isn’t it amazing how God provides that is so many ways. One of yours is Miss Alyssa as I’m learning from “From Ignorance to Bliss”. Thank you for writing this book! What a blessing I am receiving.

  24. You had me at the title! Great story, wild rescue. So glad you were able to save her. So glad Jesus ran to rescue me though I was covered in the slime of sin.
    I’m kinda happy to know that cows have such unique features. Just another amazing characteristic of God’s creativity.

    1. Yes ma’am, He is a wonderous, miracle-making God, that’s for sure and for certain. She’s a strong, active, headstrong little calf who is doing wonderfully. Thank you so much for commenting ma’am.

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