I’m not really one for country running, but when one visits the land of Twelve Mile it’s pretty much the only option. It’s actually a nice change up from my usual routes through my flat hometown. The rolling hills make for some good training and often a deer or two can be seen standing in a field or leaping into the woods. All of this makes for a beautiful and peaceful run. But at the top of the long gravel hill on 625 N there is always a herd of cattle grazing in their lot (is that the right word…this non-country-girl is unsure of the farm lingo) I always get a kick out of the cows as they spectate this rare running scene in their countryside domain. Usually the cattle might smell a little, but nothing too extreme. (For reference, the first time I visited my husband’s childhood home I told him it smelled like the fair…that’s when he looked at me and said, “You’re such a townie.”)
On this particular run however, the smell was significantly magnified as it had been raining for the last day or so and the cow lot (barn lot maybe?) had become a muddy muddy mess. As I ran by the cows they stampeded away (rather than just standing there to watch me like they usually do) flinging mud everywhere. Those were some smelly cows covered in filth. Looking at the mud pit and taking in the odor I thought, “That is so gross, and that smell is disgusting!” Then I had another thought: “I bet that’s only a glimpse of what our sin is like to God.” Guess the cows of Cass County Indiana have prompted me toward some serious spiritual reflection these days.
For the rest of the run I pondered how foul our sin is to a holy God- and marveled that He waded into our mess. I wasn’t sure how those cows were going to get all that mud off of them, but my guess was they wouldn’t be able to make themselves clean- just like we could never have taken away the stench of our own sin. Like the cows, we were deep in the muck and mire…and far from Him. But even in our most grotesque state, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). And because of Jesus we are no longer slaves to sin or condemned in our filth. His blood has washed us clean and made us new.
As we head into a New Year awaiting all that 2020 has in store, let us hold fast to the One who not only created life itself, but who created within us new life and a clean heart.
One more thought: In the coming year you might want to be on the lookout for cows…you never know what they might teach you