God and the buffalo

Back in early March I took a spiritual retreat down to a place in Kansas called Buffalo Ridge (and yes, God is in Kansas…so is the CRC. There’s a great church in Olathe, KS…same town where I stopped for Waffle House and had some great biscuits and gravy). While I was at Buffalo Ridge, I walked with a buffalo. And as crazy as I am, I talked with the buffalo. Now, a few things I learned later on made me feel a bit stupid. But at the same time, I learned something about God. Or at least was reminded about something important concerning God.

At Buffalo Ridge, they have a herd of buffalo in an acre or three pen. When I was there, most of the buffalo had been sent out to…well, be burgers. The rest remained and wandered the pasture. There was a prayer path marked out around the pasture so that one might meditate on God’s great creation while being in the presence of one of his majestic creatures.  One particular beast kept charging at the fence. Scared the snot out of me at first. But when she kept doing it, I started to be more at ease. And then as I walked, she walked along side of me. Snorting. Each snort spouting steam on the chilly March morning.

I later learned that this particular beast was known simply as Stupid. She apparently thought I had food for her and the more I talked with her, the more I she thought I’d give her some food. She’d charge when she was upset I wasn’t giving her food.

That being said, Stupid was still one of God’s creations. Not just that, but a very big (as in bigger than a Buick creations). A buffalo can cover 20 feet in 3 seconds flat. And to be honest, it was a bit frightening at first walking along side of a buffalo.

Some months later, I’ve been reflecting on my time at Buffalo Ridge and sometimes thinking about going back there in the summer or spring time to feel the warm sun more than the cool wind. But I’ve also been reflecting on Stupid and God.

Now, I want to be clear, I’m not calling God stupid. But one things I realize about Stupid is that she is still a wild creature. Sure, she was in a fenced off pasture. Sure, she thought I had food and wanted some. But she was still wild. She was gentle, yes. She was majestic, yes. She was a site to behold, yes. She walked close with me, yes. Was she tame? No. Not in the least. With her girth, build and might I add horns, she could do damage at any moment. She was beautiful to behold but not tame. She was wanting to walk beside me but she wasn’t tame.

So many times, when we reflect on God, we see him as one who walks beside us, who is majestic and amazing. But we forget one thing. God isn’t tame. He isn’t tame in the least. He is like a mighty lion. Majestic, beautiful, frightening while at the same time empowering. But a lion isn’t tame.

What do I mean about God not being tame? Well, to be honest, I don’t fully know. If I knew I wouldn’t be writing a blog post, I’d be writing a kick butt book on it. But I do know this, you can’t box in God. You can’t fence him in.

We try to though. We try to fence him in, to block him in, to control him. If we do so, then we feel comfortable and at ease. Then we can control how he walks with us. But in so doing, we loose something. We loose seeing him in his true grandeur and awesomeness.

When I was in Yellowstone last year, I saw a number of buffalo (or bison as my son and daughter kept correcting me). They weren’t tame either. And they did as they wished. When they walked across the road, you stopped. You payed attention. And if you didn’t respect them you’d get hurt.

Much the same way in following God. To tell the truth, when you don’t listen to him, you can get hurt. You can’t harm yourself. When you place him in a fenced in area, block him in, you don’t listen to him, you listen to yourself.

Don’t fence him in. God is greater than you’d ever imagine. Don’t fence him in. He’s awesome times a gagillion. And if we don’t see that, then we begin to fence him in. Let him out of the fenced pasture, let him go and you’ll see his might and awesome.

He is a God who isn’t tame. Gentle? Yes. Loving? Yes. Willing to walk with us? Yes. Tame. No.

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