Tuesday, July 21, 2009

trust amid fear

The even to which I am about to refer occurred last Thursday. I have been having problems with my internet connection so I couldn't post it earlier.
In the world of horesback riding and training there is much ado about desensitizing or bombproofing (no such thing really) your horse. Well, recently I have been using my official Dennis Reis approved XXX soft 45' lariat around the horses, twirling it, throwing out in front, even trying to rope various objects from horseback. In order to keep it handy, I had it attached to my saddle horn with a leather thong, and the coils kept with a velcro strip. I thought it was sufficiently attached. Here I had been riding Raven a taking her through her paces, moving her hips over, moving her shoulders over, doing turns on the forehand and hindquarters, 1/2 passing and side passing. We doing great. So I thought it time to work on loping 60' circles trying to keep her soft and collected. I was also working on lead changes so I was doing some figure 8's at a lope. Everything was going smoothly. I was having a blast, when suddenly I felt a soft thud against my right foot. I thought it was a stick that had been thrown up by her right front foot so I kept loping. However, when I glanced down at my foot I noticed that my lariat was gone so I shot a backward glance and there it was, my lariat like a snake all strung out chasing my horse like a blue racer might when it gets aggressive. I slid to a stop and looked over Raven to see how the rope was played out. It was loosely wrapped around her right hind foot and up over her right hip. I thought it might be under her tail, which she wouldn't have liked (though I have worked that out of her in the past), but it wasn't. I still felt the rope around my foot too. I briefly thought to myself, this could get a little ugly, so I slowly reached down and tugged on the rope and it pulled free from my foot. I let it drop to the ground, as I couldn't coil it up yet with it still being wrapped around her hind foot. I backed her out of the coils and coiled up the rope and then thanked her for being so calm. I also thanked God, because this could have been a bad wreck.

Now, I bring all this up because I want to share something about prior training. You see it was prior training that kept Raven calm and me safe. Not to say that it will always be that way, for sure. However, Ove the last two years of steady almost consistent training it paid off in her trusting me in a normally sticky situation. She has had lots of practice at trusting me in situations that were scary for her.

I think of the time the disciples were in the boat rowing across the sea of Galilee. Jesus was asleep in the cabin of the boat, the disciples topside doing all they can with their expertise to get across that bowl of a sea. When suddenly a storm came up. Now these seasoned sailors knew the dangers of being caught in the middle of the open sea in that kind of a storm. They most certainly had their own 'perfect storm' stories they talked about in hushed tones. Now they were in the midst of one themselves. Only now they had their trainer with them. Jesus had already taken them through several training sessions, events that proved who He was, various healings, and feedings. Now here they were caught in the storm of a lifetime with Jesus sound asleep. Their prior training should have taught them by now to take their cues about what and how they should think and act from Him. And since He was asleep and was obviously calm, they should have been calm too. They should have been telling themselves in their Gallilean brogue, "no worries, Mate" but instead they panicked. Unlike Raven with the trailing rope, they chose not to trust Jesus. Instead, they reverted to their naval instincts, concluded they would all drown, and decided to wake up Jesus.
Jesus words to them were "Why are you afraid, O ye of little faith." Matthew 8:26
You see, they had plenty of prior training to go on to actually trust in the midst of their fear, but chose to act irrationally instead. Yes, I said irrationally. People are fear flying, but it is actually the safest mode of transportation when compared to automobiles.
But to demonstrate to them once again, that He controlled the events of their lives He calmed the storm they arrived safely on the other side.
Maybe you and I are just like the disciples. We have prior training with Jesus. We live in hard economic times, for example, but I, for one, can look back and know that Jesus has always met my needs. He will always meet my needs. So I am not panicked about the economy. God's in control.
Maybe there is something that has you shaking a bit. You feel like you are out on a limb and someone is cutting it off at the trunk. But take heart, if you know Jesus, choose to trust Him. He just might be the one doing the cutting to see if you will trust Him or panic. Don't think for a minute that Jesus didn't know about the storm that would come up. He just knew it was nothing. His calmness ought to be ours. We should take our cues from Him and if He is panicked with whatever is going on in your life then you shouldn't be either.
When the Jesus was in the garden before His arrest, He told the disciples to pray, but instead they slept. When in the boat in the storm they panicked and prayed when they should have been sleeping along with Jesus. They had it backwards.
Let's learn from this and get it right.
Trust Jesus amid your fear.

God bless

Thursday, July 2, 2009

pain in the side

Angie, thats funny about madi. We hope to.

Well on with the blog. I am sitting here relatively comfortably. The pain has subsided abit, probly with the help of the vicodin I swigged down earlier. Is it any wonder we have pain? We shouldn't. I am thinking through Job and know that because I live in a similar world (where people are judged by how much they have, not so much by who they are) if he had pain why shouldn't I. Pain is where who we are is often revealed in truth. That adage, 'no pain, no gain' is in a very real sense a truism. Although, usually not a good way to deal with pain. Pain tells us there is something wrong in our bodies so you better get it checked out. Nevertheless, pain, while not sought after, should be accepted as part of God's game plan to rescue us from ourselves. Pain forces me to look outside myself. I thanked God for my pain during my prayer time this morning. And I was in alot of it. The take my breath away kind. I don't say that to swell me up a notch, as super godly. But rather, to highlight the fact that God is in control of my pain. Oh, give me the meds when it is too much, sure. But God has a purpose in it even if it is to show me how frail I am in body, and yet to strengthen me in spirit. I don't want the pain in my ribs to control me. Nor do I want to just 'tough it out.' I want to be able to rise above it, ie. to be able to praise God despite it. I want the pain to do God's intended work in me or you whichever it is for. When a youth wants to build muscle he or she may start exercising muscles that inevitably become sore from the ripping of the muscle cells from each other. But they grow back larger and stronger. Muscle building is nothing more than repeatedly tearing your muscles down and letting them build back up stronger. That creates pain. Thus, the adage, 'no pain no gain.' Now I am not looking for pain. I do want it to go away. But we need to realize that sometimes pain comes so that we will dig deeper in our bodies physically and discover the root cause of it in order to treat the root cause and find healing which then rids us of the pain. So again, 'no pain, no gain.' Ask a leper about that sometime.
In my case the pain is keeping me praying, rejoicing, thinking about God and what He is doing. Knowing that God loves me and that my pain has His fingerprints all over it. So it has reason and purpose, if nothing more than for me to be more compassionate to others who probably are in pain themselves.
Jake has some pain. I am not sure where. I think it is in his right hind hock/ankle. So I have been going easy on him, treating him with horse liniment (as a matter of fact, I have been thinking of applying some to my backribs) and ibuprofen. My own pain makes me feel like not doing alot. Jake might not either. So when I work with a horse, I need to take this into consideration too. It may that the swishing tail, the shaking of the withers might indicate he hurts and would prefer to be left alone. But since he is not Mr. Ed he can't tell me verbally about his pain or where he hurts. I just have to be able to read the signs. Sometimes people are like that too. They might not tell you they are hurting, but pay attention to the signs they show you. Some people, cry (that is a sure sign), get quiet when talking about certain subjects, they may be crotchety or crabby, short tempered, etc.
I also know that where I hurt is usually tender so that if I or someone else pushes on it I move away from it. When I put a leg on the side of a horse they move away from the pressure. At least that is what I want. If I put my leg forward of the girth on the right side I want his shoulder to move left. Or if I put my heel on his right flank behind the girth I want him to move his hip to the left. I create a point of pain, ever so slight, to get him to move in the direction of the pressure.
Now think about this, much of the time people who have pain in their lives through abuse, or violence, or something like that, turn away from God. But what if God is on our left side and reaching around with His hand to our right side and pushing with His all powerful index finger into our ribs to push us to the left, right under His arm, wanting us to move closer to Him? I read about a bird, don't ask me where or what kind, cause I don't remember, who was almost petrified in a forest fire. She was dead, but when the fire fighters found her they moved her wings and low and behold there were her chicks underneath her alive and well. What if one of the chicks would have rejected her warnings and refused the restrictions of living under her wings for that time. That chick would have died. But the one's that lived stayed under her restricting wings. Now need I say more about how God may be using pain in your life? Seek shelter under His wings and there you will safely abide.
No pain no gain? yeah, that's good enough for me.
See Job or Romans 8:28, 29; James 1 and certainly search the Psalms for more on this.
God bless