It's sad really, I suppose, that the thing that has hung with me the most from my recent California coastal journey is (besides the magnificent Pacific Ocean)... the cows. Yes, you read correctly. I said cows. Happy cows to be exact.
I had seen the Happy Cow commercials on TV and thought they were cute, but didn't realize how very realistic they were. Ok, before you stop reading, I know California cows don't really talk, or at least I assume they don't. But what I didn't know was that the scenery in the commercials is not some set in Hollywood pieced together with backdrop film from Ireland and AstroTurf. The cows in California really do live in paradise.
Hang with me here.
I'm not sure you folks in the East even see Happy Cow commercials. If you've never seen one you probably really think I'm off my rocker right now, obviously the effects of cutting down on coffee (I cut out coffee completely...for two days - you should have seen me then!). So, in the event that some of my readers have never seen the Happy Cows on TV, I'm providing a YouTube clip of one of my favorite of several commercials that these Happy Cows have made.
They cows in California have made several commercials, making them even happier I am sure, but this one works best with what I want you to know about these blessed cows.
When we visited California and began driving up the coast we immediately noticed how very green everything was. I was amazed by the rolling hills, the beautiful groves of trees, the mountains, and the emerald green of it all. Then I read in one of my guide books that March is called the emerald month in California because it is, in fact, the greenest month. Wasn't God sweet to take us to California for the emerald month? I thanked Him profusely for the privilege.
But as we drove along I thought it was a shame that I didn't see any livestock in these green rolling hills. Until I did. As we got a little further on our journey we began to see cows. Amazingly these cows looked just like the cows in the commercial - beautiful, rich colors, nicely fattened bellies, and clean. Not only that, but they shared their abundant pastures with only a dozen or two other cows. The pastures weren't crowded and each cow had ample green grass to munch on all day long.
I began, much to my families delight, to point out the Happy Cows every time I saw them. "Look, Happy Cows!" I would say, and my family would roll their eyes in perfect synchronization. The most blissful cows we saw were undoubtedly the ones that were not only munching away on lush green grass in wide open rolling pastures, but also had a wide view of the Pacific Ocean. Talk about happy. That's right, there are cows in California that are sharing acres of green grass with maybe 24 other cows and they're just feet from the azure Pacific Ocean. In fact, it is crashing into the shore beneath them like a beautiful symphony, over and over. They have got to be the happiest cows in the world, by golly!
My family began to get a little ticked off weary with my obsession over the Happy Cows and stopped even glancing in the direction I was pointing until we got home to Arizona and we were driving along I-10 in the desert and I said, "Look, sad cows...." With their interest piqued by the change in my tune, they all followed my gaze to three scraggly cows desperately hunting for something to eat in their southwest desert pasture. It was sad really,...but they all laughed. Huge contrast, these cows. I felt sorry for them. They don't know there are happier pastures, and I think it's best that way. But sad too.
The "new girl" in the Happy Cow commercial I shared with you above had obviously just moved to California from not so green pastures too. Hers weren't the scruffy pastures of southern Arizona, but the snow laden ones of Wisconsin no doubt. But she knew the difference all the same. The California natives didn't have a clue as to what she was talking about. Snow? What's that? Sand? Cacti? Tumbleweeds? Dry creek beds? Overcrowded pastures What are those? We haven't a clue!
And that leads me to where I'm leading us. (Finally! My adoring family would say!)
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
and for His wonders to the sons of men!
For He has satisfied the thirsty (parched) soul,
and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
Do you know how good you have it sweet friend? Are you even aware that you live in the best pasture, the Promised Land? Jesus is our Promised Land. According to the teachings of the book of Hebrews, Jesus is the complete fulfillment of God's promises. All of His promises are "yes" in Christ Jesus. In our relationship to Jesus we enter into all of His promises just like walking into the gates of a lush, green pasture.
In fact, it is Jesus who shepherds us as the Good Shepherd, giving us the security to comfortably lie down in green pastures, leading us beside still waters. He satisfies our souls with good things and tends to our every need. And He said Himself that He came to provide abundance for us. No crowded pastures or scraggly land. Abundance.
Those Happy Cows have nothing on us. In Christ, we're perched right there on the banks of His glory, walking around on holy ground and feasting on His blessings.
The question is, do you know that you're a happy...woman...man...young person? Do you remember the parched soil He took you from? Or have you at least noticed that not everyone is lying down in green pastures? That most of the folks in our world, bless their hearts, are searching among the cacti and the tumbleweeds for something to satisfy their souls?
Dear friend, in Christ Jesus we have it good. Maybe we should raise our heads up from our green, green grass long enough today to look around and take it all in so we can realize how good we have it. Count our blessings, if you will.
So, if you're happy and you know it... say Amen!
If you're happy and you know it...clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it.
If you're happy and you know it ... say Mooo!