In this week’s news there was a story about two visitors that attempted a rescue of a Bison calf in Yellowstone National Park. They thought newborn calf was freezing and lost.
I’ve been to Yellowstone, and there are signs everywhere asking visitors to not approach, feed, or touch any of the wildlife. The signs explain that you will be ticketed it you do.
The visitors in the news story (a father-son duo) must have seen the many signs. They are nearly impossible to miss. But when they saw the calf, they decided that the signs didn’t apply to their situation. They felt really sorry about the new-born bison being cold, freezing and lost. So, they did what they thought would be the compassionate thing to do. They “rescued” it.
They picked up the calf, put the it in the back of their SUV and drove it to the nearest ranger station to make sure it would be cared for.
When they arrived at the ranger station however, they weren’t thanked for making a brave rescue. They were given a ticket for their misguided rescue.
At first take, it sounds like a harsh response from the rangers. The “rescuers” were just trying to do the right thing. They wanted to do the “loving” thing – take care of the calf, and get it warm and fed. Certainly the rangers would understand. The “don’t touch the wildlife” regulation shouldn’t apply to them. They should be thanked as heroes, not given a ticket. Right?
Not so fast. When the rangers attempted to reintroduce the calf to the herd, it was rejected by it’s mother, and shunned by the rest of the herd. Because of the contact that the rescuers initiated, the calf kept attempting to make contact with people and began wandering into traffic. For safety reasons it had to be put down. Ultimately the rescuers’ decision to disregard the rules got the animal killed.
So who was more compassionate towards the baby calf? The people who made the rule to not touch the wildlife? Or the people that wanted to help it when it looked cold?
Whoever created the rule did it for the well-being of the animal. Whoever created that boundary was the compassionate one in this story. The rescuers’ misguided compassion got the calf killed. What looked liked compassion ended up with an unfortunate outcome.
This story reminds us of the importance of our attitude toward God’s word and commands.
Like the rescuers of of the Bison calf, some folks think they know better than the One that gave the commandments. Others think God’s commands are unloving, illogical, out-dated, or that they just don’t make sense. When we think like this, ut leads to a negative outcome that takes life from us rather that releasing abundant life in us.
Here’s what we need to understand: every command of God’s word is for your good. Always.
“And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always.” (Deuteronomy 6:24a)
The Lord desires that we thrive and have abundant life. Every word of God is pure. Everything God says is to add life to us, not take life, freedom, or joy from us. His commandments are not burdensome (I John 5:3).
When God’s word doesn’t make sense (whether it’s a ‘do’ or a ‘don’t), we have a choice to make: trust the heart of the One that gave the commandment, or lean on our own judgment and choose to disregard it. When you don’t understand, choose to trust the goodness and love of God rather than leaning on your own understanding. His blessing and goodness will overtake you!