Dead Cattle and Broken Hearts

dead cows in south dakotaThe weather is going mad. In South Dakota two days after temperatures were in the 80s, and before ranchers could move their cattle herds (some of which had been relocated here after the horrific droughts in southern states), a rainstorm hit and quickly froze. So cattle were drenched then frozen. Then snow fell hard and deep.

Some cows retreated downwind as far as twelve miles. They broke through fences and crossed highways before they finally died, sometimes piling up on one another in culverts.

As many as 100,000 heads of cattle died

Most ranchers lost between 50 to 75 percent of their herds. And with the U.S. Government shutdown, they won’t get their normal assistance.

One rancher told Fox News: “You’re talking about $120,000 of assets that are just gone,” Kammerer said Friday by phone. “And we still owe the banks, too. It’s like driving a brand-new pickup off a cliff and still having to make payments.”

Another rancher told the LA Times: “I can’t explain what it’s like because, mister, you can’t imagine it until you witness it with your own eyes,” he said. “To see 15 or 20 cattle piled up–the fruits of all your hard labor–you just have not concept.” The sight, he said, broke his nerve. “I just sat down and bawled,” he said. “Then I got up and threw up. And then I got angry. I don’t [know] what exactly I was angry at.” He paused. “It hurts just to talk about it,” he said.

Most of us think that meat comes from the meat section in the grocery store and is always wrapped in plastic. In fact meat has hooves, eats grass, and has a personal place in the hearts of the men who raise them–even if it is ultimately for the butcher.

What’s it like to lose so much because of one freak snow storm? I’ve never had a loss like this. And it’s not a major earthquake or hurricane that’s all over the world news. It just came and went before anyone could do anything about it.

Car accidents, or any accident, can do the same to a family.

And the rest of the world goes on, unconcerned.

And one might ask in such a circumstance, does God even care?

The Bible says he does, but sometimes we don’t feel it. It’s times like this that happy spiritual sayings of bumper sticker faith can become more of a curse than a blessing. God lets this kind of thing happen so often that we’d better get used to it. And we’re wise to meet him in the middle of disaster rather than asking “why” all the time.

Photo credit:  LA Times