Hebrews 13:5 (New International Version)
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
The day was calm and sunny. All the animals of the barnyard were out of bed, eating their breakfast, and chatting to one another. Ah... life was good in the barnyard! Every day the Farmer brought them their food, and tended to their needs. They had a wonderful barn to be in, out of the storms of life. The barn provided them warmth in winter, and shade in summer. The Farmer had provided each of them with their own area, and each animal was completely content. The pig family (the Jones clan). The sheep brood (Moxie's crew). The horse family (Milly, Ben, and Frisky). The goats (Larry, June, and the little ones, Bret, Ben and Gale). The chickens (Hale family), their numbers were the greatest. They seemed to be all over the place. The Rooster (Mike), he was the head of the chicken clan. There were the cows (Blanch, Nell, and "big bull" Greg). Last but definitely not least was "Charley" the ever watching, ever protecting Australian Sheep Dog!
Life was indeed good for the barnyard animals. Not only did Farmer care for them, but also they knew Charley was always there to guard the Yard. He had saved them more than once from wolves, chicken hawks, foxes, and mountain lions! Not to mention the snakes and coyotes that had slipped into the yard from time to time. Charley was always there, ready to fight them off at any cost. Many times, he had been hurt, but he never stopped. He took his job of guard, and watchdog, very seriously, and the other animals knew they could depend on him to protect their lives. They all remember the day in late summer of two years ago.
The day had begun as any other. Suddenly though, as if out of no where, a storm began to brew. "This looks like it is going to be a bad one Charley," Farmer had said. "Let's get the animals into the barn where they will be protected and safe."
Charley rounded up all the families and directed them to seek the shelter of the barn. One by one, they went in to their areas. Farmer had already lit the lamps, as it was beginning to grow dark. When Charley thought they were all in and safe, he and Farmer began to close the doors of the barn against the winds and rain. They then went into the farmhouse to wait out the storm. All the animals were chattering.
Some were a little frightened, but Greg, reminded them that the barn was safe and secure. "Farmer has provided us with a perfect, secure shelter in His yard. Do not be afraid. As long as we stay in the barn, we are safe!" They could hear the storm coming closer, and building up winds. They could tell this was going to be a bad one!
Suddenly from the back of the barn, Larry began to shout for Gale, his youngest. "Gale? Gale where are you?" he cried. No answer. "Gale, answer me now," cried her Dad. Silence. "Oh no. Gale must have been left outside!" said Larry. "Greg, what do we do?" pleaded Larry.
"I don't know," said the bull. "Maybe if we all make enough noise, Farmer will hear us, and come to see what is wrong."
They all began to pled and cry with all their strength. Loud, and continual, they bleated, brayed, clacked, and grunted. Praying farmer were hear them, and help Gale.
Now Farmer and Charley were in the house. They had just lit the fire, and were getting dinner ready. Suddenly Charlie's ears perked up! "What is it Charley?" asked
Farmer. "What do you hear?"
"I hear crying and weeping." said Charley. "It sounds like many voices all at once! I think it is coming from the barn."
"We did get all of the animals in, did we not?" asked Farmer.
"I thought so," said Charley, "but perhaps I should go check things out."
"Alright then", said Farmer, "Use your side flap door, to find out what is happening in the barn. However, mind you, be careful, That old enemy storm is going to come in like a flood, and we have all got to be ready for it!"
Charley nodded in agreement, and went outside to the barn. When he had come in, he saw all the animals together making a racket and crying. "What is this all about?" asked Charley. "Why the racket? The Farmer and I heard you all the way in the house! He sent me to comfort you, and find out what was wrong."
"Oh Charley." cried Larry. "My little girl Gale is missing! We think she got left outside!"
"Oh my." said Charley. "That is not good! I will go out and search for her. Meanwhile, Peace, be still, there is nothing to fear! Farmer and I care for you all, and we will find her and bring her safely home here!" said Charley. "Just have faith in us, it will be alright!"
The animals quieted down, and agreed to stay calm. Even in the midst of this great storm and turmoil, they knew Charley and Farmer would do what ever it took to protect them all. They knew they would find Gale.
Charley went out again and to the house. He told Farmer what was going on. Farmer told him to search for gale. Then, when he had found her, to let him know so he could open the barn door. Charley nodded and off he went. Like the "Hound Dog" of Heaven that he was, Charley barked and searched all over. He looked in every corner of the yard. He could not see Gale. "Gale, where are you?" he yelled. "Make a noise so I can find you!" shouted Charley. The rain was pouring and the winds were picking up. Charley was having a hard time even seeing two feet in front of him. Still he kept up the search. Finally, he heard what seemed to be a small, still, whisper of a cry.
"Gale? Is that you?" yelled Charley. "Hang on, I'll find you. Just keep crying till I track where you are!"
Charley walked slowly and carefully. He listened with all the senses he could muster up within him. Then, suddenly, between two logs, under the brush, he saw Gale!
"I'm coming Gale. Fear not! I am here to protect you!" yelled Charley as he ran to her. She was curled up in a ball, and drenched to the bone when he got to her. Crying and so scared. Charley nudged her and told her to follow him.
"I can't!" she cried. "I am too scared of the thunder and lightning!"
Charley sat next to her and placed his paw around her neck.
"Gale, do you really think I would let anything happen to you?" he asked. "Don't you know by now? I have already proven I will protect you through all the trials of life, and I will do it again! Now, be strong, take heart, rise Gale, and follow me to the safety of the barn. There Farmer will dry you and wrap you up in warm blankets. You will find a refuge from the storm in the barn. Now...Up girl!" said Charley sternly.
With strength and courage, she followed him. As they approached the barn, Charley began to yap, bark, and wail. Farmer heard him, and running out into the storm, He opened the barn door. He helped Charley get Gale inside, and stayed there. Farmer dried Gale off, and brought her near to the heater to warm her little shivering body. He picked her up in his arms and held her quietly until she began to relax and calm down. She looked up into the wonderful, kind face of Farmer. "I was so afraid!" she said.
"I though you had all forgotten me, and left me there alone!"
The Farmer held her tightly, and said to her. "Gale. You are never alone. God, Charley, and I are always here for you. We will never leave you alone. You may feel like you are at times, but rest assured, We are as close as a cry or whisper. We care for you, love you, and all the others. When we provided you with a home, it was forever. Trust that. Now, be still, and know that Farmer, Charley, and a wonderful God are here with you.
Soon the storm passed, and again, the sun came out. There was gratitude and rejoicing in the barn that day. Again, the Farmer and Charley had delivered the animals from the storms of life. Moreover, the animals knew, deep in their hearts, that they always would!
Dear Lord all we can say today is thank You for always being there for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.