Page 1 - The Electric Fence
Page 2 - The Mountain Track (this page)
This one is about how we can trust God to lead us, one step at a time, along the pathway of life He's prepared for us, without our needing to see all the details of where He's leading us.
The Mountain Track
© Graham Barker 1998
It was autumn in the mountains. Currawongs and black cockatoos signalled the approach of the first winter snow, and so the chief cattleman decided it was time to muster his beloved cattle and drive them back down from the lush high-country paradise where they grazed every summer. Seated upon his great white horse, he began herding them along the narrow rocky track that led eventually to their winter paddock, down on the plains.
Henry the dark brown bull wanted to impress a particularly pretty cow so he took the lead and marched confidently forward. However, the path was rocky and steep, and Henry quickly tired of the responsibility of having to find his own way down the mountain. "Moo, my bovine brain is overtaxed with the responsibility of finding the route; why can't the chief cattleman ride up front so that we can simply follow? It would be much easier".
From behind the herd, the chief cattleman replied "The route is not hard to follow on this part of the mountain if you use the common sense you were created with. You have ears to hear my voice and fur to feel my stockwhip, and I am always near - so if you stray from the route I can quickly correct you!"
Later on Gertrude, the pretty cow, also began to complain. "Moo! When will we reach the end of this long track? We've been following this path for a long time and I can't see the end of it". Her sister Guernsey joined in: "Moo, the journey is long and I am udderly puffed. We are mere cows, and have not the endurance to traverse such distance". Others grunted in agreement, and their faces became long.
Seeds of doubt took root in the mind of Hector the elder bull as he contemplated the journey. "Moo. How can we be expected to struggle along such a tortuous pathway when we don't even know where it goes. Does it go anywhere at all? Why should we trust the chief cattleman who directs us along this path?" Uncertainty reigned among the cattle, and the pace slowed much.
Dark clouds lowered and soon the mountain trail was shrouded in a dense fog. Discouragement reached its climax in the herd; they came to a complete halt and in a united chorus aired their grievance with the chief cattleman. "Moo, moo, moo. Our vision is clouded and we cannot see where we are going. Therefore, we shall not go anywhere! We shall not be mooooved!"
The chief cattleman, seated upon his great white horse, felt compassion as he surveyed the faithless furry faces before him. He spoke unto them: "Oh cows of little trust! I love you and would not lead you anywhere that didn't ultimately benefit you. You quickly forget I have never led you astray before. Yes, the path is long, but I know you all very well and would never ask you to undertake a journey unless I knew you could go the distance". He then pointed ahead with his stockwhip and spoke to the smallest of the cows. "Jessie, see that painted white stick over there, just before the pathway disappears into the fog?" Jessie nodded. "Go to that stick and see if you can see another one further on".
Jessie obediently trotted to the indicated white stick and peered into the fog. Her big brown eyes lit up as she responded: "Moo, it is as you say, chief. When I approached this first stick, the next stick became visible through the fog. Obviously someone has marked the route so that it can still be followed in bad conditions".
Smiling, the chief cattleman continued. "So you see, my bovine friends, you don't need to see the whole path, or the destination. All you need to see is the next marker along the path, and when you reach that, the next marker will become apparent. By following the guiding markers I have provided for you, one step at a time, you will surely make it to where I am leading you, without having to know where that is. You can trust my guidance, for it is I who constructed the pathway".
The cattle paused to remember how the chief cattleman had led them faithfully in the past, then they resumed the onward plod down the mountain track. Confidence became the dominant mood among the herd, and breakfast was regurgitated and re-chewed as a celebration of renewed positive attitudes. Before long, the winter paddock was reached and a peaceful winter of grazing was had by all.
For some of the parables of Jesus, and their explanation, check out the parables page of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry at www.carm.org/parables.htm.