Monday, March 16, 2015

The Word Became Flesh

Dr. Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal sciences, a livestock consultant, a best-selling author and a well-known speaker.  She was listed by Time 100 as one of the most influential heroes in the world.  Oh, and did I mention?  She's autistic.  Yes, that's right, despite being diagnosed with autism during an age where such a label sentenced one to being institutionalized at the very least, Temple has not only learned to deal with her autism, but she has also found a way to reach out and help others like her.

There is so much that could be said about this extraordinary woman, but obviously, I cannot cover it all here for sake of time.  What I would like to discuss today, however, is her work with cattle.  With all her accomplishments, I realize it may seem strange to focus on cows, but it was in the midst of learning about her work with cattle that the Lord reminded me of a blessed truth.

Being autistic, Temple has a different way of thinking.  She sees and learns everything through a series of pictures and mental images.  She also relates to the fear, frustration and confusion of animals in a way that most "normal" individuals cannot.  In combining these two characteristics, Temple has been able to create various equipment, corrals and techniques for dealing with cattle.

The unusual thing is that Temple's work didn't begin in a workshop.  No, the first stage of the process for her was to study the cows.  She watched their movements.  She studied the volume and intensity of their mooing.  She became one of them in order to learn more about them, even to the point of getting down on her hands and knees and crawling through the various corrals.  She knew it was imperative for her to see what the cows saw and to feel what they felt as they made their way through the maze of corrals.  And in doing so, she discovered things about the animals that no one else seemed to notice.  This understanding gave her insight into how the cows think and act, making it possible for her to design the most productive and efficient cattle systems to benefit both the ranchers and the animals.

Just last week, I had the privilege of watching a movie based on the life of Temple Grandin.  As I watched her crawl through the mud on her hands and knees, I had to weep.  She cared so much about the welfare of those cows that she was willing to become one of them.  And that is exactly what my Jesus did for me.  He cared so much for this world that He was willing to leave all the splendor of Heaven and come down to dwell in the mud with us.  Even though He already understood how we think and act (for He is all-knowing), He still came.  He became one of us not so that He could understand what it was like to be human but rather so that we would understand that He understands because He has walked in our shoes.  He didn't have to do it.  We certainly weren't worth it.  But He cared about our welfare, so He traded the riches of Heaven and the praises of angels for earthly rags and the mockery of men. Like Temple, Jesus realized how important it was to see what we see, hear what we hear and feel what we feel. 

And I'm so glad He did.  Why?  Because now when I have no words to describe how I feel, I can trust that Jesus already knows.  After all, He's walked this same dark road.  He's faced the bitterness of betrayal.  He knows the loneliness.  He understands the tears that fall in the night. He is well-acquainted with disappointment. Whatever I may face in this life, I can be at peace knowing that Jesus completely understands both me and my plight.  And because He understands, He can see me through.

The Word became flesh.  May we never take that lightly!

 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. - John 1:14


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