Those Who Wear the Brand
It seems like this winter, just as the one before it, has dragged on far too long. I am so thankful for more hours of sunlight and the beginning of warmer weather. One thing that always amazes me every spring is the new life the changing season brings with it. That first green speckle on a naked tree branch is an annual reminder of hope. A reminder that even after a dark season, life always continues. Spring means the arrival of new babies and more work. Being a part of the ranching community allows an up close and personal look at the circle of life that most don't get to experience in our modern world.
One of my favorite ranch chores to participate in is branding. I should give the disclaimer that my "helping out" on the ranch is really more just providing an extra body where it is needed and bringing burritos out to everyone who is putting in a real day of work. Nevertheless, I was always thrilled anytime I got to help my husband with branding or watch Taylor in his element. When you brand, you want to make sure it gets done before the calf is too large to handle and it still takes multiple hands working together to accomplish the task. Whether you are the one roping, flanking, branding or vaccinating, every job is important and necessary to brand the herd.
Someone watching the process for the first time might wonder if singeing a symbol into a calf's hide hurts the young animal, but I can assure you that ranchers have the highest of standards for how they care for their livestock. Branding is an integral part of that care, the same way a parent holds a child's hand when they get their vaccines at the doctor's office. You know it will hurt them for a moment (which will inevitably hurt your more), but the temporary pain is for their best interest. Branding marks each calf as belonging to a certain operation and ensures that it will be looked after. It ensures that it will be accounted for and found if it should wander off course. A rancher takes great pride in keeping the cattle that wear his brand under his protection.
"No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever."
When God first gave man dominion over all the cattle and creatures He had created, I'm sure Adam also took great care in his herd. I would also speculate that in the beginning there was not yet a need for a branding iron or mended fences, but Adam's brand (and everyone else's) isn't really what is important here. The bible tells us that when a new beginning comes, believers will be branded with the name of the Lord on their foreheads. What an incredible image!
If Jesus is going to put His name on us, we can believe that he will always take care of us. He will always have our best interests in mind and He will ensure that we never get lost from His herd no matter how wide he has to circle out. As believers we have been claimed as the Lord's!! When we wear the brand of the Lord, we can trust that "there will be no more night." Spring is here and this time it won't be followed by another winter. Whatever valley you might be walking through now, please know that you are not alone. If you have accepted Christ as your savior then he has already branded you as His and will not ride back to headquarters until His complete herd is accounted for.
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