Monday, March 24, 2014

The Grumpy Horse

We've developed a little system here at the farm.  Bill the Magnificent feeds the horses and beds them down for the night every evening.  The morning feedings are my job.  Since I have to be at work early, the horses can count on an early breakfast.  Most days, I'm at the barn by 5:20 and feed is pouring into their troughs no later than 5:25.  You would think they would appreciate an early breakfast in bed, but no, they don't.  Well, my nice quarter horse, Belle, does.  She is always calm and sweet.  Cali, Ryan's Paint show horse, is usually also happy to have breakfast whenever it arrives. 

My 29 year-old horse, Toby, however, is a different story.  He was my first horse, and that is all that is saving him.  He is the grumpiest, most impatient creature I've ever known. As soon as I approach the barn, he can somehow hear my footsteps, and he starts whinnying.  Before I'm through putting the feed in the buckets, he starts banging his head on the stall wires.  Because he was bending the wires and making a mess, I nailed two boards across the wires so he couldn't get to them.  Not to be bested by a mere human, he now stretches himself as far as he can so that he can reach above the boards and bangs away. That has to hurt his nose, but he is not deterred.  He wants to be fed, and be fed first.  He is not first, however.  Cali is in the first stall and she is fed first.  When I approach Cali's stall, he starts scraping his teeth again the tailboard. It's a frightful sound and one that has very nearly landed him a spot on the sale barn roster more than once!

I have tried everything from a firm lecture to hot sauce on the tailboard and everything in between. Nothing makes him better.  He has an impatient nature and, possibly, a narcissistic personality disorder. He always thinks he is the most important horse in the barn.  He is not.

Toby has never missed a meal in the 25 years he has been here.  He has always had fresh water, clean hay, and a warm barn, as well as a full feed trough.  It's not clear why he's so demanding, but it doesn't make his provision arrive one bit faster.  In fact, sometimes I feed him last, just because of his obnoxious behavior.

A few days ago, he was up to his usual, and (among other things), I said, "Don't you know good things come to those who wait?"  Of course, he does not, but we should.  Waiting is not our favorite, is it? We live in a fast-food society that expects instant gratification.  We want what we want, and we want it when we want it. That may be a fine attitude if you have money in your pocket and you can go to the store to purchase what you want.  If you are asking for a provision from God, however, it doesn't seem like a good attitude at all.  I don't think He much cares for the demanding and fit throwing I have tolerated in Toby. Unfortunately, He has tolerated it from me a few times.  Maybe you've had a little of that impatient grumpiness yourself.

Over the years, though, I've found that there is usually a good reason for God's delay in answering my prayers.  Sometimes, the thing I want changed is not altered at all because I'm the one that really needs to be different. Sometimes, God is orchestrating a miracle that can only happen in His timing and His coordination.  I don't pretend to understand the ways of God, but I have learned that He can't be hurried.  He is, however, always right on time.

When you are tempted to get fussy with Him about what you perceive as a delay in the provisions or the intervention of God, think about grumpy old Toby.  You sure don't want to approach God with that behavior!  Calm down and trust the One who loves you most.  Not only do good things come to those who wait, "every good and perfect gift comes from above"(James 1:17) and it comes right on time, every time.  No fit or head banging required.