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Lessons in the Strangest Places

My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in His presence, freely asking according to His will, sure that He’s listening. And if we’re confident that He’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.  1 John 5:13-15 (MSG)

Lessons from God

You can learn a lot from animals.  Whether a cow, dog, or fish, God can teach life lessons using anything!  One spring morning, I was out walking my dog.  Not the classy, go for a morning constitutional, get a little fresh air and exercise kind of walk.  This was the “I don’t want to clean up behind you in the house” kind of walk.  This is a routine for us.  Every morning, when I open my bedroom door, I see Millie sitting up and looking at me from her kennel.  She knows what is coming.  She has heard me moving around in my room.  Millie heard me open the bedroom door.  She knows I am going to let her outside as soon as she finishes jumping and wagging after being set free from her confinements.

Second Chance at SpringBridal Wreath Spirea

That morning, the air was cool.  It was warming up a little more each day and it looked like we were getting a second chance at spring in Georgia.  Some of my bushes that were hit hard by a freeze right after blooming were budding again.  Tiny white flowers opened along the boughs of my bridal wreath spirea and little pink tassels covered the Japanese Fringe Flower.  That excited me, because I hadn’t been able to enjoy their colors nearly long enough a few weeks earlier when they bloomed the first time!

As I walked Millie, keeping her on a tight leash until we were away from my flower beds, I looked at the freshly cut grass.  I always keep my eyes down, watching where I am walking, for many reasons.  One of those reasons is so that I can look for any type of trash that needs picking up.  I usually find a piece or two on my short morning walks around the yard, but this morning was different.  There was nothing to pick up where I was walking.  I breathed deeply as I walked.  It was then that the peace and quiet of the country air was shattered.

Across the dirt road and through the woods came the loud, low bellowing of a lone cow.  My closest neighbors don’t own cows.  Nobody anywhere on my road owns a cow.  But someone not too far away apparently had a cow or a bull that spring.

Moo Cow

CowCows used to be quite a fascination of mine.  As a young child, I had a toy cow on wheels connected to a bell-shaped bulb.  When I squeezed the bulb, the cow lifted its head and mooed.  I called cows “moo cows” most of my life.  In fact, when I was in elementary school I wrote the word “moo cow” in each of our home dictionaries to prove that it was really a word.

I had lots of cow-themed items growing up.  My parents gave me a collection box full of cow figurines.  Shortly before we married, my husband’s best friend gave me a pillow case.  The print on it read, “Something in the way she moos.”  I had cow stuffed animals in my bedroom, and my best friend gave me Mary Moo Moos that were adorable.

Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby

I remember as a teenager when my fascination with wanting to own a real cow began to wane.  I was visiting my grandparents.  They had a house and a bunch of family-owned land in the country.  As I was out meandering on the dirt roads, I walked near a farm of a distant relative.  I could see cows in the field. I climbed up on the round metal poles of the pasture gate and watched them.  Several of the cows came close to where I was.  They were SO pretty, but then something hit me . . . the smell.  My goodness, they didn’t smell pretty.

Sometimes things may look fantastic at a distance, but when you get up close enough to see the reality – then, not-so-much.  This morning’s unusual sound filtering through the woods fascinated me because it sounded so forlorn.  Maybe it was “something in the way she moos” that made it stick out in my ears.  Hearing cows in the rural area in which I live certainly wouldn’t be shocking – even with the knowledge that my closest neighbors don’t own cows.

Specific Sounds

The bellow the cow made this morning sounded very distinct.  It sounded almost like the cow was communicating something very clear and specific.  It sounded desperate.  Lonely.  There were no other moos answering back.  Never having owned cows myself, I was intrigued with the sound.  I began to listen to see what the Lord might be wanting to teach me from the cow moo. I felt inclined to do a little research.

Bringing my dog inside, I put her leash beside the buffet just inside the front door.  I picked up my phone and googled, “Why do cows moo?”  The results seemed consistent, but I ran across one article, written by Kristofor Husted, that peaked my interest.

Why Cows Moo

Mr. Husted, a journalist and reporter for Harvest Public Media, met with a cattle geneticist to inquire from him why cows moo.  I have no idea what prompted him to ask that question, but I’m glad that he did and that he went to someone who was experienced in all things bovine.  Mr. Husted reported (2016) that cows seem to communicate for a variety of reasons.

First, he stated that when cows are moved to new locations, they often call out trying to find other cows that they know.  Cows also moo when they are looking for a mate for purposes of reproduction.  Cows moo when their calf (or the mom) has been lost and they are trying to locate one another.  Finally, it was reported that cows also moo when they are hungry, need to be milked, or are stressed in some fashion (heat, trapped, etc.)  Mr. Husted tried to get a recording of cows mooing but was unsuccessful.  In explanation, the geneticist simply stated, “happy cows don’t need to moo” (Husted, 2016).

It was that last line that I found most interesting and made the most sense in describing the lowing of the cow that morning.

The cow-call that I heard earlier sounded so anguished to my ears.  It didn’t seem to be happy.  It caught my attention and made me alert.  I wanted to go locate from where the sound was coming to see what was going on or if there was something I could do to help.

Crying Out

Thinking on that mournful moo made me contemplate what our cries out to God must sound like to Him.  Unlike my lack of understanding of the reason behind the cow calling out this morning, God knows every situation in our lives.  He knows our reasons even before we cry out to Him.  He loves each of us without condition and is concerned about everything that is of concern to us.

Luke 12:6-7 reads, “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (NKJV).  That He takes count of every hair on our heads has always fascinated me – I lose hairs with every brush or washing of my tresses.  So, if even that detail doesn’t escape His eye, then no doubt He notes any situation of greater meaning to my life.  No problem is too big or too small for God to know about, care about, and be able to do something about.

Communicating with God

Let me preface my next few paragraphs by saying that communicating with God should not be reserved just for times of trouble.  (Who wants to hear from someone who only calls you when they need something?) But just like good parents appreciate when their children come to them when a problem is stirring, our Heavenly Father wants us to come to Him with situations we face.  And while parents may sometimes already be aware about situations that are troubling their children, God certainly already knows every detail of every aspect of our lives before we call out His name.

God’s Word tells us that when His children cry out to Him, He hears them.  Psalm 34:17 reads, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (NKJV).  Psalm 50:15 reads, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (NKJV).  Psalm 86:7 (MEV) reads, “In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, for You will answer me.” Jeremiah 33:3 (HCSB) reads, “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.”

Communicate to Build Relationship

God longs for us to communicate with Him.  According to Merriam-Webster, (n.d.), communicate means to “share.  To convey knowledge of or information about:  make known; reveal by clear signs.  To cause to pass from one to another.”  Communication is a two-way street, with both parties sharing and listening to one another.  Communicating with God isn’t just about calling out when situations are starting to look scary.  It isn’t merely about desperate times calling for desperate measures.  Instead, communication is consistently acknowledging our reliance on the Lord and desiring to develop deeper relationship with Him.

We communicate with the Lord in our thoughts, the focus of our hearts, our actions, and with our voices.  For most of my life, praying out loud was something that terrified me.  The reason for that was because I was forgetting my intended audience of one, and instead was more concerned about what I sounded like to people.  I still, at times, struggle with that – especially in a crowd.  But the Lord has been showing me that I generally begin to feel more comfortable when I frequently practice something that, at first, makes me uncomfortable.

Lift Your Voice

But praying, declaring the Word of God, and crying out to God – out loud – well, there is something different about that I’ve noticed.  I don’t know that lifting our voices has an impact directly on God (He’s not deaf, nor is He nervous).   I think, however, that praying, declaring the Word, and crying out to God aloud causes something different to happen in us.

Barbara Ho, (n.d.), in talking about the children of Israel marching around the walls of Jericho and then obeying God on the seventh lap by yelling, stated, “Have you ever wondered why He had the people shout?  Of all things to have them do, why that?  Because lifting our voices takes faith.  Sometimes just stating facts aloud validates the reality of whatever the situation is.  It somehow makes it real.”

[tweetshare tweet=”Staying quiet in prayer takes no guts at all. Speaking out takes courage. It takes faith. Voicing our prayers aloud means we can no longer hide behind appearances. ” username=”@HollyDMurray”]

Stone Fish by SeanMack

Lifting our voices takes faith.  Wow.  Boy is she right.  I can pray all kinds of crazy, wild prayers in my head, and God the creator of the craziest things (Google weird ocean animals and be amazed) hears me but isn’t ever surprised.  But if I start praying and declaring the Word of God over big, crazy dreams – aloud, where I can hear me, or other people can hear me, when THEY know the crazy things I am believing for – that is a little different, isn’t it?

Is Your Crazy Showing?

I’ve seen humorous memes on Pinterest that say things like, “You might want to tuck that back in, your crazy is showing.”  Society is mostly about conformity.  Sticking out usually makes people feel awkward.  But if we are going to be crazy about anything, let it be about Jesus, and let it be something that makes our faith stronger!

Besides building our own faith, speaking the Word aloud in prayer might encourage someone else to believe big for themselves.  The “Me Too” movement, begun in 2006, is still a hot topic in the media right now.  But what if we say “me, too!” when we are praying with people about things that are unattainable without God’s intervention?  He’s more than able to do for your prayer partner the same as He can do for you!  Think bigger!  Call out to God!  He hears us and longs to communicate with us.  For what are you believing?


Do you like what you read?  Consider reading more from this author!  Check out her book, Believing for a Miracle!




Communicate. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2018, from Merriam-Webster

Ho, B. (n.d.). Crying Out to a God Who Answers. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from Harvest Prayer

Husted, K. (2016, May 16). Why Do Cows Moo? Here Are A Few Reasons. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from Harvest Public Media

SeanMack. (2006, June 30). Stonefish [Digital image]. Retrieved September 29, 2018, from Wikimedia

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