“Never seen this before,” the rancher said, removing his old hat and scratching his head. We were standing next to the barn looking out towards the East. “Better saddle up and see if you can find ’em,” he continued, “it’s getting dark.” With that he turned and walked away. I immediately saddled up one of the horses and started off at a slow gallop towards the rolling hills east of the ranch.
I was a fifteen-year-boy spending one year on a large cattle ranch in Washington state. Besides several hundred beef cattle, there were eighteen cows we milked twice a day. Right now they were the problem. By nature they always came to the barn at milking time, but today was a no-show.
As I continued riding my horse up the grassy slopes it became darker by the minute. Just before total darkness, I spotted the cows and managed to get them on their feet and headed back to the barn. And then the storm hit. Strong winds and rain beat down on me. It became so dark I couldn’t see the horse’s head in front of me.
I rode on, fear now overtaking me. I had no idea where I was. Then suddenly my horse came to an abrupt halt. I tried everything but he wouldn’t budge. Confused and afraid I sat there not knowing what to do as the storm continued to rage around me. Out of the darkness a bright streak of lightning flashed across the sky. For one brief moment the whole countryside was lit up from the enormous bolt. And then I saw the reason my horse had stopped. Right in front of me was a sixty foot drop-off into a canyon below. I can still visualize that terrifying sight.
I quickly turned the animal around and rode off, still not knowing the direction to the ranch. I remembered hearing that an animal has an inherent ability to find its way home on its own. What else could I do? I relaxed the reins and started off. Sometime later I saw the glow of the light above the barn. When I arrived the cows were already in their stalls having found their own way.
Later that night lying in the warmth of my bed, I thought of all that had happened. As I looked out my window the storm had passed and a full moon shed a soft glow into my room. And then it came to me, that verse someone had taught me when I was just a little boy: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . . you are with me…”(Psalms 23:4). Wow! God was with me out there in the storm! I wasn’t lost to Him. He saw that young and frightened boy and directed that lightning strike just at the right time. That’s just Like God! He’s always right there to guide us through any storm.
Even the one you might be in right now.