I love to hear Daddy call the cattle. That distinct sound only he can make just so. The volume and power. The perfectly timed rise and controlled break. It’s one of my favorite sounds in the world.
It’s the same call Grandpa used for his cattle, passed down through years of practice (aka, hard work) to the next generation. His voice delivered the authority; definitely a Cole family tradition.
It was only a few days ago that I last heard Daddy. Really heard him. Walking away after a visit, his call stopped me. I turned and watched and listened.
The setting sun cast a golden glow on his face. He was standing just outside his door, hands cupped, calling. But he wasn’t just calling THE cattle, he was calling his cattle.
My soul awoke. I have been given a living example of Jesus’ Words.
“My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”~John 10:27
All my life I’ve seen this scripture lived out but never saw it until that day. Even as I began this post, I had no idea The Call meant so much.
On November 24, 2015, Daddy answered his Master’s call to come home. It was a sudden, unexpected call for all of us. No warning. No prior notice. The Lord had a plan we just weren’t privy to. Daddy fell asleep in his chair and woke up with Jesus.
In the days since, I have replayed the moment I Got It at least a million times. My mind’s eye can see Daddy and my memory echoes his voice. I praise God for granting me that moment. It is forever tucked in my heart, along with this verse.
Whenever Daddy sounded his call, his cattle came running. They knew his voice and they knew it meant something good. Hay. Shelter. Medicine. A bucket of sweet feed and a pat on the back. He used his call to summon them for many reasons, but always for their good.
Daddy’s cows knew his voice because they knew him. They had a relationship with him. He spent time with them, marked them, even named them. He made them gentle and fed them by hand. His tender faithfulness proved they could trust him and they did.
Daddy called his cattle that particular day for no other reason than his own pleasure. He wasn’t feeding or working them. Heck, he wasn’t even wearing boots! He just wanted to see them. To count them. To make sure they were all there and alright.
It’s just the same with Jesus.
He wants to be with us. He wants us to hear His voice and know it’s His. He wants us to understand how much we are loved and treasured; how much He cares even when the call doesn’t make sense.
Though we grieve, He has proven to Momma and me that He is in the details. We can trust The Master and answer His call, no matter what it is. We saw evidence the day of Daddy’s funeral.
It was a dreary, wet, forty-degrees, but we wore red and celebrated his home-going just as he would have wanted. His body (what Momma calls his “glove”) was laid to rest in a country cemetary, right next to a cattle pasture. As we arrived, the herd was in the far back but as we began to gather, they made their way up the hill.
In true cattleman fashion, Daddy’s casket was flanked by a row of cattle! It was as if they knew he had a heart for them, even though they weren’t his, and they came to honor him.
They stood there through the entire service, even mooing a respectful “Amen” on cue. And when it was over, they quietly turned and headed back down the hill. One friend even swore he saw their heads bowed as we prayed.
Friend, God is good and He is in Everything, even on the sad, dreary days.
If you don’t have a relationship with The Master, if you don’t consider yourself His, may I tell you something? He still has a heart for you. He wants to call you by name and make you His. He loves you and wants you to hear His voice, even this moment. You can know and trust Him. Won’t you go to Him?
Daddy would’ve gotten a kick outta all that. I can imagine him with his dimpled grin, slight chuckle and nod saying, “Cool!”
And I can imagine him telling us that following Jesus’ was the best decision he ever made. He heard The Call and gave his life to Jesus as a young man, in the middle of a pasture, looking up at the sky, surrounded by cattle.
Daddy loved Jesus and trusted Him completely. Even when it didn’t make sense. Even when it cost him everything. Even when it hurt.
Momma and I will do no less.
Please pray for us as we grieve. Every day is different and some are much harder than others. We simply weren’t prepared.
Our life has been a whirlwind these past few weeks, both figuratively and literally (more on that later), but we know God is in control. He’s proven we can trust Him. So we will take one step at a time, listen for The Call, and follow where He leads.
To watch the video honoring Daddy’s life, click
Psalm 91 was Daddy’s favorite passage.
Psalm 91 (MSG)
“You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”