The Open Wound

She was my favorite mare. A tall, beautiful, good-natured bay that did nothing but throw beautiful foals. And there she stood, trembling in agony, staring, blindly at the wall in front of her. Everyone could see the problem but no one knew the cause. Her left shoulder had a grapefruit sized swelling but there was no visible wound.

At last, we decided to lance the wound. We weren’t sure how she would respond since this would only increase her pain, but we had to try. Carefully, we cleansed the area, her head sinking lower despite our gentle efforts. The scalpel was poised and the drawn over the center of the swelling. Her head came up sharply and then relief spread over her whole body as a fountain of foul smelling infection poured from the wound.

From what we could determine, she had received a small puncture wound that remained undetected. The bacteria had invaded and a little wound turned into a life-threatening problem.

We deal with this so much in the westernized church. Sin, addiction, a spiritual wound remain hidden. Good Christians don’t act that way or have problems like that. Don’t talk about it. Don’t ask for help.

Do you want healing? Do you want freedom? Do you want peace? Find someone you trust. Find some group or a friend who will stand by you and bring your problems out where they can be seen.

As my good friend says, Satan works in the dark, not Jesus. Let his light shine on you, in you. As the infection leaves, there will be pain. But, the relief, the peace, the joy that replaces it is beyond imagining.

What are you looking at?

I used to train horses.  I taught people to ride.  One of the beginning elements that I would try to get people to understand, get myself to understand is the sensitivity of a horse.  They look big and powerful.  The old westerns always showed people kicking their heels (with spurs, no less) into the horse’s sides and galloping away.

Horses don’t need to be kicked.

I might get frustrated, see the horse doing everything wrong.  My students would yell about how stubborn or stupid their horse was.  But it wasn’t the horses fault, sometimes.

What are you looking at?

Our eyes often dictate the direction of our bodies.  If I am looking at the ground, it changes the physical attitude of my body.  If I look left, or right, my body feels different.  If I am inwardly focused, it affects my muscles, my bones.  If I am concentrating on a particular point, it tenses my body, makes it more rigid.

A horse senses all these things and will respond accordingly.  Sometimes they will take advantage of you.  Sometimes they will try to act on what they sense you are wanting them to do.  And you can assist them in learning, in training, by adjusting your focus.

People are making resolutions, trying to fulfill them, maybe already failing on them.  It’s what we do every January.  I am doing it too.  Trying to exercise again, be more diligent in prayer, in the Word.  I can feel my feet, my heart beginning to falter, again.

So, I ask again.  What are you looking at?

“Let us run with endurance the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”  (Hebrews 12)

Down a Dark Trail

The trail ride had ended at the remote camp site in the middle of the woods.  I had taken it out alone, set up the sleeping arrangements, got the fire started and then enjoyed some great food.  Now came the tough part.

At 11:00 at night, there isn’t much light to navigate by.  The dirt roads and fields I had to traverse were well known to me but without any moonlight one had to be cautious.  Noises sound different, rocks and branches play tricks on your eyes.  And then there was “the cave.” That’s what I called it.  A place where the trees met overhead and, even in broad daylight, was dark and stuffy.  At night, you could literally hit yourself in the face with your hand and never see it.  It may have been only a quarter mile long, but to a nervous young man, it seemed like five.

I entered in and immediately lost sight of everything.  I couldn’t see my horse, couldn’t see the road, couldn’t see anything.

So what do you do when that happens.  My choice so often was to either fumble my way through, trying to direct something I knew nothing about, often – always making things worse.  Or, and this took some practice, lay the reins on my horses neck and let him get me through.  Horses see better at night.  Horses can smell their way through things and have a great sense of direction, especially an old quarter horse.

This week I lost my job.  What I was trusting in was no longer there to carry me and my family.  A dark, forbidding place surrounded me and I still can’t see my way through.

But I serve a great God.  He sees perfectly in my night.  He knows everything and has it all under control.  The surprise for me is that I ever, I mean EVER, pick up the “reins” of my life.  Why do I think I know enough, see enough, understand enough to wrest my life from His loving hands?  

My horse always got me through that dark place and I loved him for it.  I knew we were in it together and I could trust him completely. My God has never failed me.  He has never left me.  He has never been less than a holy, loving Father, a mighty Warrior that brings me to victory.

Here you go Lord….

I’m all Yours.

Move Me

The cowboy sat astride the big, black horse.  Their goal was to move forward, not run, not prance, just walk.  But the horse would not move.

KICK!  SLAP!  KICK!  WHIP!

Over and over the cowboy rained blows on the unyielding horse.  Before long, both horse and rider were exhausted and sweating, though all the horse did was stand still.  Finally, the cowboy dismounted and lead the animal back to his stall.

The horseman took the animal back out of his stall.  Calmly, soothingly putting saddle, bit and bridle back on the still sweating beast.  Peacefully they rode together to the same spot that had stopped him before.  And once again, he stopped.  There was movement from the rider but it was barely perceptible.  The horse still would not move.  The horseman raised the reins and with a subtle pull of the left rein and a shift of his weight the animal sensed the imbalance and corrected it, by taking a step.  The horseman praised the animal and asked again.

Slight tug.  Shift in weight.

The horse stepped forward and continued on his way.

Humans that lead us tend to be like the cowboy and we find ourselves angry and frustrated, unwilling to move.  And just so we’re clear, sometimes the human is us.  We come to a place where we’ve just given up and we can’t take any more.  We are not in a place of rest, in fact, we find we are more tired, worn out, than ever.

Then we hear our Father.  We sense His presence.  We come back to the place of our failures, our stubbornness, our frustration and dig our heels in once again.  He lovingly makes us uncomfortable, sometimes causing pain, to remind us of our need to be “under” Him, centered with Him.  Then we can move.  Then we feel free.

Was the cowboy wrong in what he wanted?  He was not gentle.  He hurt the one under him and made matters worse.  But his goal was the same.  The horseman knew the greater need of the horse’s heart.  He knew a softer, yet just as compelling, way of communicating.

The problem is the horse didn’t want to move.  He could listen to the rougher approach before it had to get so rough.  He could listen to the will of the master that was being communicated through the human.  But, he didn’t want to move.

Move me.  Use whatever you need to put me in the place where I can hear You, know You more.  Move me…