Be the Buffalo
Like a lot of animals, buffalos and cows can both sense when a storm is coming, but these two animals react in very different ways. Cows will run from the storm—that is, they run in the same direction the storm is heading in an effort to escape it. The cows get tired as they try to outrun the storm and the storm eventually catches up with them. Their instinct, however, is to continue to run so they find themselves running in the midst of the very storm they were trying to get away from. They get stuck in the misery they wish to escape because they went in the same direction as the storm.
When buffalo sense a storm, they run in the opposite direction of the storm—that is, they run right toward it. No doubt it’s tough when they are in it, but it doesn’t last long because they are not running in the same direction as the storm—they are going in the opposite direction.
Which of these two animals do you relate to? When you see a storm of life coming, an attack from the enemy, do you turn and run until you get tired only the find the storm, the attack, is gaining ground behind you? Or do you see hard times coming, a storm, an attack, and run toward it? The storm may hit, but it doesn’t shake you because you are going in the opposite direction from the storm.
This metaphor gets used often to talk about success and leadership. It’s used in motivational speeches, but for the Christian, for the one who knows the real fight going on around us, this metaphor can be a strong one for not going in the same direction that our sinful desires want us to go. Jesus used storm language when he talked about anyone who listens to His teaching and follows it.
“‘Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.’” (Matthew 7:24-27)
“Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers. Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving.” (Proverbs 4:14-15)
We are called to repent and turn to God. In fact, Matthew 4:17 tells us that this was the message Jesus preached: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.” To repent means “to turn away from,” so when we come to God, we have to go the opposite direction of our sinful nature. We have to turn from our sins and turn toward God. We can’t see the darkness if we are turned to face the light. So when the storms of life come, when temptation’s thunder rolls, don’t run the same direction it’s moving. Many have tried this for years and they get the same result as the cows: they can outrun the storm for a little while, but eventually they get tired and end up staying in the storm. Instead, stay strong, stand with the Lord who commands the storm, and you will find that the winds of that storm won’t bring you down. Be the buffalo.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.