How Now, Purple Cow?
by Pastor Gene
The familiar phrase, “How now, brown cow” has been used to teach how vowels are rounded out in elocution (the study of formal speaking) since at least 1926.
I like cows. Brown cows are OK, but the black-and-white ones are my favorites. We have a farm near our house that reminds Mary and I every now and then that cows DEFINITELY live there – especially when the wind blows in our direction on a stiflingly hot summer day! Cows can really stink, but I still like ‘em.
Now, if I was a brown cow, I’d probably spend my life envying my black-and-white brothers of the bovine herd. Most of us could probably fill a legal pad with things we wish were different about ourselves. I remember once complaining to a friend when I was on a TV show a few decades back about how fat I looked. He said, “Oh, don’t worry about that, Gene, the camera adds 150 pounds.” Thanks, bro!
I laughed at a story that Christian author Shana Schutte once wrote about three brown cows who desperately wanted to change color. They were tired of being dirt-colored.
So, “they decided that purple would impress the neighbors and gain them notoriety. So, after much planning, the herd’s leader pushed a large can of purple paint out of the nearest farmer’s garage and onto the driveway where it spilled for each Holstein to roll in it. Their plan worked. A short time later a farmer passed by. He couldn’t believe his eyes! He’d never seen a purple cow! He’d never even hoped to see one. But one thing was certain: he was enthralled with their pastel beauty so he herded them home. They were proud, and he was impressed—just like they hoped.
And then it rained.
The downpour washed away the paint, and with it, the cows’ posturing and posing. What they’d pretended to be was gone—and all that was left was a purple puddle.”
It’s a great story, right? Truth is though, we all put on layers of paint from time to time. We may have one color for church, another for friends, another for family, etc.
And you know what God often uses to wash it away? Yupper, rain! The rains of suffering, rains of doubt, rains of epiphany, rains of sickness, rains of loss, etc.
I LOVE the rain! I love it when it beats against my window – I never sleep better than I do to that sound. I can remember specific times and places in my life where I fell asleep to the sound of the rain.
But I want to love these rains too – the rains of discomfort. The rains that bring floods along with the comforting sounds!
You’ve heard the old saying that everything comes out in the wash? Well, more accurately, everything comes out in the rain – and thank God for it!
For consideration . . .
- Which ‘rains’ has God used in your past to wash away the paint you’ve applied to gussy yourself up for other?
- What are some of the things you’re disguising or covering up now that God wants to deal with in you?
- Would you have the courage to ask someone you trust how they see you in some of these areas? I realize that that means making yourself vulnerable, but it could be a very insightful spiritual exercise.
- Are you essentially the same person at home that you are at work? At church? With Christians? With non-Christians? Why do you think this is?
- Are there areas of your life that you feel you need to present to others differently than they truly are? Is it possible that in these areas you’ve refused to accept the uniqueness that God has created in you?
- Finally, take a moment to be thankful. Take some time and THANK GOD for the rains He’s sent into your life to wash away pretense and posturing! It’s truly liberating to be comfortable with who God has made you while you’re becoming who He wants you to be!
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