When the bull was younger, innocent and less suspicious, the famed bullfighter came to visit. The bullfighter thought the bull was a beautiful animal and he petted the bull and acted to be his friend. But he did not tell the bull that he did not like the power and strength that it had and he did not tell the bull that he feared the power and strength it would grow to have. The bull did not understand the bullfighter as he spoke calmly and sweetly and stroked his head. He did not understand when the bullfighter whispered to him that he would bring the bull down and make him tame, or he would kill him and eat him. Part of the bull sensed that something was wrong, but only part of him. He was uneasy around the bullfighter, but couldn’t figure out why, so he ate the fresh hay that the bullfighter fed him. If the bull had understood what was going on he could have ended the bullfighter’s life, but the poor bull did not understand.
The famous bullfighter lived on the farm where the bull lived. He had been accommodated by some men with plans. The bullfighter was selected to live there and he was told that he would become a great bullfighter, not based solely on his skill, but because of his “friends.
The bullfighter knew that one day he would fight this bull. He saw the potential of the bull so the bullfighter plotted to assure that when the day of the fight came that he would win the match. He poisoned the bull every day he was on the farm. Not enough to kill him, but to assure that the bull must not reach full strength. He did it to assure his victory. He knew that this bull at full strength would gore him and ruin his opportunity to be called the “Great One” by the world. The poor bull didn’t understand why he felt tired and weak. He couldn’t understand what was happening to him.
Before the bull could grow to full size and strength the famous bullfighter, who was called by his admirers the greatest bullfighter that ever lived, retired. It was, by the rules, his time to move on. Yet he knew he would be back. The time was not yet right, but he would rise again. Others would get hired onto the ranch and continue to poison the bull. Then when the time was right, when other bullfighters were maligned and made to look weak, he would come back to show the world what a great bullfighter could do.
Upon his return the bullfighter was masterful before the crowd. He took off his hat, he smiled, and he bowed. He waved to them as they screamed their approval and worship of him. This, the bullfighter thinks, is what he was made for. He feels his power grow as the stadium worships him. He smiles at them so charismatically, but the thought behind his smile is not a returned love. It is that the plan is working. It is that the plan for him to have all the fame and all the power was working. He thinks to himself that power and fame are the home he was destined to live in. His “friends” have worked out the details. He will rule.
The retired bullfighter is back and this time he is not stopping with a piece of the pie, he will have it all. All he needs to do is to kill the bull. The young bull that has poison in his system has grown to look magnificent, but the poison still blocks it from being all that it could be. Before the bullfighter gets in the ring, the picadores on their horseback and lances will have stabbed the bull to weaken it. Then the banderilleros will stick in their knives to weaken the bull more. The bullfighter and his friends know that this cannot be a “fair fight” or the bull will destroy the bullfighter. So this magnificent bull had to have been poisoned, but that was not enough. It must be, before the bullfighter enters the ring, repeatedly pierced by spears and knives. The magnificent poisoned bull must be further weakened to almost to death in order to assure the bullfighter’s victory. It must bleed and be run around the ring until the proud beast becomes utterly tired and confused.
The plan has been followed. The fight has started. The bull fights for its life as he again and again, time after time, charges his multiple adversaries. He hopes to vanquish his enemies. He wants to live. But the game is rigged. The poisoned bull tires from the stabbings, from the bleeding, and from the efforts to save itself. Then, when the fight is almost over the “proud” bullfighter struts into the ring. He approaches the heavy breathing and exhausted bull with his long sword poised to strike. He waves his cape to entice the bull to charge him. The bullfighter is a master of deflection and misdirection. He fools the bull to charge a cape rather than to come after him. The bullfighter is not afraid. He is skilled and he knows that the contest in rigged in his favor.
The bull fights valiantly, but at last, suffering from wounds and the loss of blood, after many deep stabs from the bullfighter, the valiant bull falls dying to his knees. The proud bull has been conquered because he could not discern how he had been prepared to lose. The stadium roars its worship of the bullfighter. Yet, some in the crowd, cry for the bull.
The name of the bull is U.S.by Bob with
“Mark!” Mom called out. Then she called again “Mark!” When she received no response she tried again “Mark, are you out there?” He gave her heart a jump when he suddenly appeared on the steps saying “Yes mom?” Mom could see by the big smile on his face that her being startled was certainly his intention. She was about to tell him to not do that, but instead she just smiled and told him it was time to wash up and eat his lunch.
As he passed by her she admired her son’s handsome features and sturdy young boy build. He was a good looking boy and the girls his age steadily proved that by their coming around and wanting to be her friend.
At the kitchen table they shared a prayer, thanking God for their food and the roof over their head. Mom then asked him “Honey, what were you doing in the back yard?”
“Um, nothing,” He gave his usual response. He then, without a second thought, began to tell her about what he had been doing. “I was just lying in the grass under the mustard tree. I was being quiet, just trying to listen to the sound of the birds, the cars, and Jerry’s little dog barking.”
“Hmm,” Mom replied. “I guess you were bored.”
“Nope, just relaxing.” Mark clarified. “Sometimes a guy can get a lot of thinking done just lying in the grass.”
“Did you get a lot of thinking done?” Mom asked, slightly amused.
“At first I was just listening,” he began, “but then I thought I would think about heaven.”
Now Mom was curious and asked “So what were your thoughts?”
“I began to think about what I know about God. I remembered hearing Pastor saying that we should take quiet time and wait to hear from God. So I was just quiet for a while and I felt so, um, comfortable. I felt so nice, uh, you know, I guess I just felt very loved.”
Mom almost audibly gasped.
“Then I thought that I would think about heaven,” Mark continued. “I was thinking about how heaven must look. It wasn’t easy to imagine, but what I then thought was that it must be very green in heaven. I imagined I could see hills with green grass and lots of big strong trees. Along with the trees were rivers, big and small ones, and creeks and lakes and ponds. I could hear birds singing. These birds seemed like very happy birds singing the happiest sounds you could ever hear a bird sing. I saw lions playing tag with sheep and dogs and cats running around chasing each other. All the animals loved each other. None of them were fighting. As I walked along I stopped to sit next to a nice big tree. As I leaned against the tree I heard someone ask ‘Comfy?’”
“I looked around but couldn’t tell where it came from. So I sat again and rested against the tree and again heard ‘Comfy?’”
Again I looked around and again I couldn’t tell where the voice was coming from. I stood up and looked in the tree to see if someone was hiding up there.”
“What did you see?” Mom, caught up in her son’s story, asked.
“At first nothing. Suddenly I was totally freaked out as I saw a face on the tree smiling at me. I tried to move backward so fast that I fell right down onto my bottom!”
“Oh my goodness!”
“Yeah, I know, huh?” Mark agreed. He then continued “Then I saw the tree’s face open its mouth wide and a big deep laugh came out. The tree laughed so hard that it snorted!”
“What did you do then?”
“Suddenly I was no longer afraid. In fact, the laughing and snorting of the tree were so funny that I also began to laugh and snort. Pretty soon we were both laughing so hard at each other’s laughing and snorting that I think we laughed for about ten minutes straight. Then as I began to stop laughing I heard other laughing. Some laughs were big loud deep laughs and some were very small squeaky laughs. As I looked around I noticed that many animals had come around the tree and I and they had started laughing with us.”
“Amazing!” was all Mom could utter.
“Yeah, but the funny thing about it was that it didn’t scare me, and didn’t even seem strange to me. Talking trees and animals just seemed like, uh, well kinda natural. It just seemed like it was all normal. Not only did all the trees and animals talk, but so did all the plants and all the insects. All of us loved each other as if we had known each other our whole lives. Like we were all one family. The weasels were really funny, always joking. I felt like I was in the most loving and beautiful place there could ever be. I felt like I could spend eternity there. I couldn’t imagine a better place ever. But then, it got better!”
“No way!” Mom exclaimed. “How could it get better?
“Because suddenly all the animals and all the plants got very excited, but very quiet, and they turned to look just behind the tree and I. So I turned to look and there He was Mom. About five feet away was Jesus. He was smiling real big and wiping some tears from His eyes. He had been right there laughing with us. In fact, he was part talking, part crying and part laughing when He said to me “Well Mark that was a really good laugh! I did enjoy watching you all have fun!”
“Wow, how neat!” was all Mom could get out.
“I know!” Mark agreed. “Then He said ‘You know Mark, I love you so much, we all do.’ Then he waved His hand to point to the animals and also to point up in the sky and the branches of the trees. In the sky and trees there were like a gazillion angels all around. They had been laughing with us too. Mom, it was so amazing, everyone loved everyone. Everyone got along. The light around us was bright and warm and somehow part of the love that everyone felt. The whole place was too beautiful and too wonderful to describe.”
Mom had to close her dropped jaw to ask “And then what happened?”
Mark smiled at her and responded “Then I heard you calling me. I turned to Jesus who smiled at me and nodded ‘Yes.’ I understood that He was telling me to end my imagining and answer you. Suddenly my thoughts faded and the last thing I heard and saw was the trees and animals saying goodbye”
“Oh honey I’m sorry to interrupt that you!” Mom apologized.
“No Mom, it’s okay.” Mark comforted her. The next thought I had was a verse that you had talked to me about this morning. You know, in 2 Corinthians where it says that we can’t even begin to imagine what God has in store for us. So you know what Mom?”
“As beautiful and awesome as that was, it is not even close to as beautiful and awesome as it is really going to be!”
“You know Mark,” Mom replied, “I totally agree with you. Whatever we can imagine, doesn’t even begin to compare to what it will be. It’s gonna be pretty tight dude!”
“Yeah Mom, it’s gonna be tight! I’m glad we’ll be there together.”
2 Corinthians 2:9 – 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him.
IHS 3-2-14by Bob with