I (Kevin) grew up in the suburbs. Cows were something we smelled driving on I-5 to my grandparents' house, but I can't really even remember hearing a live cow moo in my childhood. I'm sure I did. That to say, I don't do big animals. So in this transition between mission fields we move to the Book Family Farm where they have BIG horses and cows.
Last night we got two more milk cows. They are a bit stubborn. Naturally, if you kidnap me, stuff me in a trailer and drive me away from my home for a couple hundred miles, I think I'll be a little stubborn too. I wouldn't know if I was going to become ground beef or what. Last night when the cows arrived they had to be milked and while very leery, they were somewhat compliant. This morning however one was not. She was stubborn and I had to push on her very poopy behind to try to get her to move into the milking barn. Not what I expected as a suburban kid.
So am I just suffering for the Lord, waiting to get to the mission field. I think putting my hand in cow poop is suffering, I hate mess as it is, but this was a lot. Frankly, though, I did not suffer because I didn't have time to think about it. What I am doing is being active in the midst of patience.
And in this time of activity, I am able to reflect. How often am I as stubborn as that cow when God is trying to lead me? Leah's dad has to milk the cow out so that she doesn't develop an infection. It is just as much to her benefit as it is for hours. I'm sure that God is not trying to literally milk me (I would have to have some very strange anatomy for a boy) but I think he is spiritually milking me in these times.
What living at the farm has done, living in Chico has done, is given a space to come to God with greater and greater trust each day that he will empty me of me so that I would not get a spiritual infection. And he feeds me, just as we do the cows, so that he would fill me.
As I placed my hand on poop, I didn't have time to think this through, but I did when I began to wipe off my hands. I was once a stubborn heifer, untrusting and yet bloated. Thankfully the Book Family Farm has helped me to learn how to trust more and empty myself so that I would not get a spiritual infection.