Thursday, January 11, 2018

Horses and Humans and the Tendency to Wander



Dusk had begun to fall last evening before I headed to the barn to feed. Just outside the tack room, I saw a deep indention in the soft, moist soil. A hoof print. I groaned. The fresh track could only mean one thing. At least one of the horses was out.

I opened the back door of the barn. Two horses trotted inside to their stalls. Belle looked at me from the other side of the fence. She was out of the pasture, and not at all happy about being separated from her herd.

Once I'd redirected her to the stall, I walked the fence line to find the problem. I was nearly to the far corner when I found it. Just before the New Year, Ryan and I had worked that stretch of fence. I thought the wooden post, though not perfect, was good enough. It wasn't. 

The post in which I'd put my trust was flat on the ground, the barbed wire still attached. It was no problem for a curious horse to step over the downed post and explore the adjacent ground. 

Belle had probably wandered a few steps over the fence, nibbled a little grass, wandered a few more steps. In no time at all, she was separated from the other horses. Later, she noticed her plight but was too far from the opening to easily return. Judging from her hoof prints, she'd paced back and forth in front of the barn, uncertain what to do.

Robert Robertson's 18th century hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," uses a phrase that describes the human condition quite well. We, like Belle, are "prone to wander." A missed quiet time here, a skipped church service there and before we know it, we've wandered away from our church fellowship and from a close relationship with our Lord. 

The purpose of the fence is to keep the horses in a safe place, with easy access to the shelter of the barn and the blessing of twice-a-day feed. The purpose of the restriction of our faith is not to keep us from something good or pleasurable, but to protect us from harm and give us easy access to the blessings of God. 

Belle could only be restored to the rest of the herd by surrendering to my direction and following me to the barn. In that same way, we will be restored when we recognize our situation and surrender to our Lord, who stands ready to lead us back to Him. 

Today, let's do a proximity check. How close are we to our Lord? Our fellow believers? Have we wandered? Failed to follow in any area? Do we feel separated from God? If so, the solution is simple. Recognize our plight and cry out to the One who longs to restore, then follow where He leads.

"My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his should form death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 nasb
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When the God of the Universe Knows Our Name

photo courtesy of freeimages.com