It was the end of May. Ruth and Lenny were enjoying the bright,
summer day, when Dad and Mom said, “Time to go and bring up the cows.”
cows were out somewhere in the 60-plus
wooded acres, and it was getting late in the day. It was time for them to be herded into the
barn for milking.
was in her early teens and her sister, Lenny, was six years younger. They had done this task before. It was a routine job, but Dad and Mom had
warned them never to go through the fence, and if they ever got lost, they were
to follow the fence line.
today they started on their way, searching for a newly trodden cow path. Just a few steps ahead was
Skipper, the family farm dog. This was
his daily chore also. Soon they found
some cow tracks. Ruthie called, “Come
boss, come boss,” and listened for the sound of clanging bells. The cows wore collars with bells, so when
they walked or ate, the bells would clang and alert their owners of where they
were. The girls did not hear any bells.
it was Lenny’s turn. “Come boss, come
boss,” she called. Still
no bells. They decided the cows
must be a long ways into the woods. They
would just have to keep walking.
the path, the girls spotted some May flowers.
“Oh,” exclaimed Lenny, “wouldn’t they be nice to take home to Mom to put
on the table?” Ruthie agreed, so they
started picking the wildflowers. There
were nice little sprigs here and there.
But while the flowers God had created were ever so pretty, the temptation
of picking them had taken the girls off the narrow path of safety they had been
following. Soon Ruthie decided they did
not know for sure where they were. They
continued walking, but they were growing weary, and the sun was getting lower
in the western sky. Soon they came to a
big swamp. Ruthie knew it was in the
northwest corner of the pasture. They
had to go in the opposite direction.
They started out on a path while trying to keep the fence line in view
and still avoiding the boggy swamp, but soon they were right back at the same
spot of the swamp from which they had left.
Lenny was getting scared, and Ruthie was becoming desperate. Silently Ruthie breathed a prayer to God Who
cares for His children and always hears their pleas of distress.
a thought came to Ruthie’s mind. She
spoke to Skipper, “Skipper, take us home.” Skipper immediately went under the
fence at a point where there was not much water. The girls remembered their parents’ warnings,
but there were other considerations. The
water was higher in the spring, and the fence could not be followed all the way
through the swamp. Night was coming on,
and they were tired and thirsty.
girls decided to follow their family friend.
He seemed to know just where he was going. Soon they came to a familiar opening in the
woods. It was a road, and Ruthie and
Lenny knew right where they were. They
were about two miles from home. God had
used Skipper to lead them to safety.
the girls got close to home, they heard the cowbells. The cows had heard the girls calling them
earlier and had found their way home.
Sometimes, as children of
God, temptations can cause us to lose our way.
We get off the narrow path of safety.
But if we seek the Lord, He will find a way to bring us back home to His
flock, even though it may be the long way around.