Lessons from a Horse (Psalm 107:17-22)

Last week, she came home with a tumbleweed wrapped up in her tail. Her pace was slow. It was easy to see this prickly ball she could not escape annoyed her. When I met her at the barn, she went straight to the water trough and I made a plan.

I’ve seen her powerful kick, so I moved beside her, spoke softly and rubbed her side. She turned to see what I was doing. I slowly reached around and grabbed the tangled tail and began to extract the tumbleweed. I quietly assured her as I slowly worked to remove it. When it was out, I gave her a pat to let her know all was fine and she moved away. I hope she was grateful she no longer had a pesky ball away nipping at her heels.

Yesterday, she and her companion stayed in the field all day. They both seemed alerted to something and a bit anxious, but nothing looked different to my eyes. Once in a while she would circle her friend but her companion never moved forward and they never came up for water as they usually do.

So Rusty and I went out to see what might be the problem. When we approached them, she turned and looked at me. I immediately saw the problem. A 4-inch section of curly cactus was stuck in her lip. It curled toward her nostril and was covered with long spines. She let me touch her forehead and pet her while we made a plan. I took off my stocking cap and folded it onto itself, but I felt the thorns through the cap when I tried to grab it and she became anxious. I let go and calmed her again. I folded it again and gave it to Rusty. He moved forward and extracted it while I calmed her. All but two spines came out and she looked relieved. Her skittish companion came close to look and allowed me to rub her and speak to her too.

I turned to go to the barn and my curious and wreckless friend walked right at my shoulder. She ate a full meal – freedom does that to us. When we have made foolish decisions or tried to fill our needs with things that ended up becoming our prisons, our souls become famished. It is only in the presence of The One who rescues us, leads us out and provides nourishment for our souls that our deepest desires are fulfilled our desires and our brokenness and pain healed. He doesn’t mind if we eat until we are fully satisfied at His “Table of Plenty.”

We prayed the final two spines would come out on their own and they did. She ate breakfast and is back out in the field today.

I have been thinking about Psalm 107:17-22 and wondering how to share the beauty of God’s way of caring for us. As I thought about yesterday’s adventure with her, I was reminded that I am often the one who has been (and often continue to be) a bit too curious, a bit too eager to meet my needs without taking a better look at what I’m getting into. When things go wrong, He provides. God sent His Son for sins I cannot go back and change, for sins I will make in the future, for sins that have created pain and locked closed parts of my heart and made me a prisoner. And, His Son heals me. This is not just a Christmas thing. It is something I need to remember every day. My Heavenly Father sends help every time I cry out to Him and when allow Him to see me in all my brokenness, pain, and shame and when I let Him to make things right between us so that I am able to follow Him better. He guides me back to the place He has prepared for me. He is ever so gentle and kind. My task? Stay right beside Him. He knows best.

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m so grateful for a living lesson from a horse that demonstrates how You love me. Let me love others the same way.

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