I can't think of a more tumultuous time of my life than the last six months: learning to milk a brand-new dairy cow. I have tried many things to gentle Gracie as we both learn the ropes of cow-milking, and the most effective has been …. patience.
A hot tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. –Proverbs 15:18
The difficulty of my relationship with Gracie has revealed my absolute best and absolute worst traits. On the best days, I am more patient with her than I've been with any other challenging trial or person in my life. On the worst days, I am reduced to the hottest tears and angriest temper I've ever exhibited.
On the most challenging days, I have said, “Gracie, you make me so mad!” (imagine that much more strongly). But that's not exactly true. Yes, she can be difficult, no doubt. But God says that a “quick-tempered man does foolish things” (Proverbs 14:17) and He commands “do not hasten in your spirit to be angry” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). When I snap, it is my fault — not hers.
Yeah, I know — here I am talking about my relationship with a cow. She can't reciprocate in the relationship like another person could, yet I learn from it nonetheless. When I sit on my stool shedding tears over every squirt of milk and crying to the Lord to give me patience, I think about the difficult people in my life and how I treat them.
Am I as patient as I should be?
Do I blame others for my bad mood or allow resentment to fill my thoughts and heart?
Do I withhold good from anyone, though it is in my power to give it? (Proverbs 3:27)
No matter what others do to me, I will one day appear before my Lord to answer for every careless word I have spoken (Matthew 12:36) and to give account for things I have done (2 Corinthians 5:10). Not what others have done. What I have done.
So even when I milk the cow, I pray the Lord will fill me with His patience and His wisdom. When I am an open vessel through which He works, my patience bears fruit. For “the wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1). And “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:28).
And this I learned from milking a cow.
Please share: What have you learned from difficulties and adversity?
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