Thursday, October 20, 2011

Called By Name

Her name is Glory.  When she runs her head arches majestically as she pounds the earth with her powerful hooves, creating her own little thunder storm.  Her coat is a glossy midnight black during the Fall months.  She’s spunky, with enticing vivacity.

Before coming to the ranch, Glory went through a process of being haltered and ridden as hard as she could be repeatedly, so that she now abhors her halter.  Catching Glory is no easy matter—it takes time and steady effort.  But there’s something about a horse like that that draws all sorts of people to the challenge. There is one rule. Once you start after her, you cannot stop. 

The morning was cloudy with a light drizzle in early May, shortly after I had arrived at the ranch.  It was weather that any Phoenix girl would be instantly drawn outside to enjoy.  Slight wind and rain met my face as I left the bunk house and progressed to the arena to visit the horses.  Seeing me without a halter, Glory was not opposed to my hands rubbing her sleek coat.  To some extent, it was hard to continue onto the barn to gather her halter, when I knew she was well satisfied to just have me stand there next to her.  But such a relationship with this horse would be pointless.  If I couldn’t halter her, I could never use her. So I left the herd and headed to the barn.  Rain struck the tin roof creating a sound that I deemed lovely.  As I collected Glory’s halter I paused at the door, searching my brain for some way to make this go easy.  But it wouldn’t matter what I did—only Glory could make this go easy or hard.   I approached the herd slowly.  Keeping my halter hand low in hopes that perhaps Glory wouldn’t notice it.  I reached Ruby, an enormous Clydesdale and paused to pet her, delaying the inevitable.  I laid Glory’s halter down so that she would not be startled should she take note of it in my hand.  There was no tricking Glory, she noticed the halter alright, but since it was not in my hands, she sauntered towards me to investigate.  I watched breathlessly as she came close, and then reached with her neck so that the tip of her nose could take in the scent of her halter.  She was so close… She started to turn.  I picked up the halter with what I thought was a steady movement, but the smoothness of my movements meant nothing to Glory.  She turned and ran.   The game was on.  From here on out, I was committed to never letting Glory rest until I caught her.  No relief until the mare came to me for it.  I could not physically make Glory obey me, but with the halter in my hands I certainly carried a force that would make her move.  I followed Glory up and down the arena, never allowing her to cease movement. “Come on, Glory.  Easy, easy.”  I cooed, as I walked steadily behind her.  She ran from me.  “It’s okay, girl.  We’ve done this before, easy.”  The next 20 minutes were spent in this manner.  I pursued, while Glory tried unsuccessfully to elude me.  Eventually she grew tired and began to favor a corner.  My own heart was pounding as I tried to determine whether to continue approaching and make her move, or to hang back and see if she would allow me to walk up to her if I did so slowly.  For a moment it seemed she was going to submit, but then off she went for another round about the arena.  I didn’t give up.  I wouldn’t give up. Back in the corner we ended again.  Once more I hesitated—would she come to me now?  Observing her body language, I chose to move in.  Slowly.  She waited, nostrils flaring, ears erect and eyes on me. “Easy, girl…its okay, easy.”  I soothed.  Step.  “It’s okay, Glory.”  Step, step.  Still speaking gently, I reached my halter up and over her head.  For a moment I had to stand there in amazement.  The achievement was incomparable.  Then I proceeded to praise her, rub her, from my pocket I pulled an apple.  I hadn’t haltered her to ride today, I had haltered her to teach her.  She would be rewarded, and then quickly returned to the herd.  Glory accepted the apple with some apprehension, and then relaxed as I continued to praise her.  Within three minutes, I had slipped the halter back off, and we were done.        Easy.  Just as I had promised.

Late that night, I had to stop and think how much we as humans are like Glory.  God will ask something of us, and we’ll run.  But God is always there pursuing.

God doesn’t just ask something of us—He calls us by name.  He never asks more than what we are capable of handling, but like Glory we spend time racing around the arena.  We’re somehow convinced that we’ll either outrun God or He’ll give up and leave us alone.  We buck, we paw the earth, but God is always there; a steady even voice that gently reassures us that it’s going to be alright.  He doesn’t force us to come, He waits until we cease to run, turn to face Him, and submit, allowing Him to have His way with us. 
     And how often is it that when we finally stop running, and make ourselves willing to do whatever He would ask of us, God throws in an apple?    By A.H.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quiet Time With God

One day, I was walking back to the ranch from the bunkhouse and noticed Peyton in the round pen.  I took a moment to stop and spend some time with him.  Our horse trainer, Willie, had told us that one way to teach a horse to accept and trust us as their authority is by sitting on top of the fence.  This helps the horse get used to someone being at a higher level then them.  It also prepares a young horse in training to accept someone sitting up on their back.  I thought I would try this in working with Peyton to form and continue a bonding/trust relationship with him.  As I was investing in my friendship with Peyton, he walked away from the area where I was sitting and went to another part of the round pen.  It made me think of how I can be like that with God.  He asks me to come to Him and dwell in His presence, but I still choose to walk away at times, ignoring His love and seeking my own desires and pleasures and going back to what is familiar to me.  However, when I submit to quiet time with Him, He teaches me how to see problems from His perspective, and I learn how to put complete trust in Him despite my circumstances.  The key is I have to seek Him for who He really is first.  

by R.V.