Cows and Questions

By Linda Porter Carlyle

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans opened her eyes. The bedroom was dark, and cold, and quiet. She wondered if it were still night. She turned her head and looked at the clock that sat on the old desk near her bed. The green numbers read 5:31. The 1 on the end turned into a 2 as she watched.

Well, that meant it was morning! Mac threw back the covers. She hurried over the cold floor and across the hall. She paused in the doorway of her parents’ room and squinted through the darkness. There was only one long lump in the bed. That meant Dad had already left for work.

Mac scurried over to the big bed and climbed in. She snuggled against her warm mother.

Mom rolled over and kissed Mac on the forehead. “You should have been a farm child,” she murmured. “You always wake up in time to milk the cows.”

“Cows would be fun!” Mac said. “I wish we had one.”

“Ummm,” Mom said.

“I think one of those black and white cows would look really pretty in our front yard,” Mac added.

Mom yawned. “What about when the front yard filled up with cow pies?” she asked.

“Ummm,” Mac said.

Mac and Mom lay snuggled together under the thick comforter. Mom dozed. Mac was thinking. “Pastor Chuck told us in Sabbath School that we should always listen for God’s voice like Abraham did,” Mac began. “But how do you know if God is talking to you?” she asked. “I mean, what does God sound like?”

“That’s a very good question,” Mom said. She stretched. “And thank you for starting the day with a question I don’t have to look up in the encyclopedia or call the librarian to answer.”

Mac giggled. She knew, no matter how she sounded, that Mom really thought curiosity was a good thing.

“God speaks to everybody through His Word, the Bible,” Mom said. “You don’t have to worry about what God sounds like when you read the Bible. You just have to open it up, and read, and listen. And God speaks to everybody through His creation,” she went on. “Even the tiniest things God made tell us of His greatness.”

“But what about if God wants to talk to just me?” Mac asked. “Would I hear His voice out loud?”

“Maybe,” Mom answered. “God could choose to speak to you personally. He has spoken to lots of people that way—like Noah, and Abraham, and Jonah, and David, and Samuel, and probably a lot more people I could name if I thought about it for a minute. And He also speaks in dreams and visions.”

“I wonder what God’s voice sounds like,” Mac said softly.

“I think God speaks to a person’s mind more often than He speaks out loud,” Mom answered. She wiggled into a more comfortable position. “I love the story I heard a pastor tell once about God’s speaking to him. He said that one day a family brought an elderly gentleman in a wheel chair up to him after a service. They asked the pastor if he would pray for their grandfather. The pastor said that God spoke to his heart and told him to take the grandfather’s hand and tell him to stand up and walk.”

“What happened?” Mac asked eagerly.

“Well, the pastor did just what God told him to do,” Mom answered. “He took the grandfather’s hand. He prayed. And then he told him to stand up and walk—and the grandfather stood up. And he walked! The pastor said the grandchildren’s eyes got very big, and they exclaimed, ‘He hasn’t walked for three years! We were just going to ask you to pray for his cold!’ ”

Mac laughed with delight.

Mom went on. “The pastor said God had never asked him to do such a thing before, and He hasn’t asked him to do anything like it again. But he sure is glad he was listening and heard God’s instructions that one time!”

“I hope God asks me to do something wonderful like that someday!” Mac said.

“That’s all God is looking for,” Mom said. “People who are willing to listen for His voice and let Him use them. But you don’t have to wait to do something you think is huge and wonderful. God can use you to do small wonderful things for Him every day.” Mac could tell Mom was smiling in the darkness.

The alarm clock began its annoying beep-beep-beep. Mom reached her arm out of the covers and turned it off.

Mac bounced and sat straight up. “It’s time to get out of bed and listen for God!” she exclaimed.

Mom groaned softly. “Go, turn the heat up,” she said. “And please check the refrigerator and see if there is any milk. I may have to send you to the market before school. Or go out to find a cow.”

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