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Northside Baptist Church

Elkhart, Indiana


  • Mar25Mon

    Saddle Up, Partner!

    March 25, 2019 Lori Henry


         I have always loved horses!  I used to have a favorite stick horse and would ride it through the neighborhood all the time!  At night, I often had a dream that I was riding my stick horse and it would suddenly turn into a real horse, and it would be galloping up a hill, and the wind would be blowing wildly through my hair.  
         My cousin and I would ride together.  Up the road from her house, there was a horse farm owned by Dr. Brown.  We could call his home and ask to take a horse or two out for an all day ride.  We often would head out at sunrise and not come home till sunset.
         I can't express how much I loved this!  Donned in Wrangler jeans and boots, I was on the top of the world for the day!  We would ride through fields, up winding paths, and through cement cow tunnels that adjoined the country to neighboring towns.  I loved the sound the leather saddle made as I rode, and the sound the horse's shoes made going through gravel.  I loved the smell of the horses!  
         One such day, we rode over to my hometown which was about three miles from the barn.  My horse was well behaved the entire way there.  When they saw us ride through the streets, our friends came running out of their houses.   We dismounted, and they got to ride a bit.  After about an hour, my cousin and I decided that we were ready to go.  I mounted my horse, and apparently, he was ready to go, too!  As soon as my feet were in the stirrups, my horse took off for home!
         He picked up speed at an alarming pace!  I was pulling back on the reins, hard!  The horse went from galloping to a dead run.  I was holding onto the saddle horn for dear life!  At one point, I thought if I covered his eyes with my hand, he'd surely stop!  He didn't!  All he wanted was to go back to the barn and eat hay in his own comfy stall!  
         We were running alongside traffic.  We were jumping newly planted pine trees, (which are now 40 feet tall!), we were running down rocky paths.  I tried everything imaginable to stop that horse, but he was having none of it!  I later learned that the smartest way to stop him was to pull the reins to a hard left or right, so that the horse would have to turn in a circular motion.  It's hard to be in a dead run when you are running in a circle!  
         The barn was finally in sight, and the horse laid his ears back against his head and pretended he was Secretariat!  My life was flashing before me.... thank goodness there were only ten years of it!  Closer and closer we got, and then I saw with horror, that he was going to run straight into the barn through a small, open door!  I ducked and laid down on his body!  He ran right into his own stall and began to munch on hay as if nothing had happened!
         I was crying hysterically at this point! I quickly dismounted and slunk to the barn floor because my legs were shaking so badly, I couldn't stand.  The horse was sweating, and the saddle was slightly askew, but he was none worse for the wear!  
         Micky, complete with Wrangler jeans, a Stetson and handlebar mustache, saw part of the fiasco.  He was the barn manager, and a toughened cowboy.  He had leathery skin and didn't say much.  Next thing I knew, he backed that horse out of his stall, fixed his saddle, and came back for me.  Before I could protest, he grabbed me by the back of my shirt, and a belt loop, and hoisted me back up on the saddle.  
         I still hadn't stopped crying, and the  LAST thing I wanted was back up on that stupid horse!  Micky was holding the reins and walked us around the huge barnyard.  The horse knew that Micky was the boss.  No more acting up!  He followed Micky's lead.  Calmly.  Obediently.
         After five or ten minutes we stopped.  Micky told me to dismount, which I gladly did!  I was feeling much calmer at this point.  I stopped shaking.  I was no longer sobbing.  What Micky said next was something I have never forgotten!  In his western cowboy accent he said, "Darlin', if I didn't make you get back on that saddle and ride, you'd have never ridden again!"  And he was right!  I was so paralyzed by fear and the terrible experience that I surely wouldn't have ever gotten back in the saddle!  Thanks to this seasoned old cowboy, I still ride today!
         This reminded me of what happens to us as Christians when we fall into sin.  Satan can make sin seem fun for a season, but there are consequences to our sin.  When at last, we are sitting alone, shaken and crying over the affects of sin, Satan whispers that we need to stay down.  Wallow in the mud.  He assures us that the best thing to do is to never get "back in the saddle."  He holds the banner that says, "FAILURE" over our heads.  Some of us resort into hiding.  Some of us are paralyzed with fear.  
         God, on the other hand, is the One to rally behind us.  If you will, He is there to grab us by the shirt and belt loop, and hoist us back up in the saddle.  Proverbs 24:16 tells us: "For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again:"  Psalms 37:23-24 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."  And again, 1 John 1:9 explains, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
         God is ready to forgive.  Notice in 1 John 1:9, He not only forgives us, but He also cleanses us!  We don't have to wallow in the mud of sin!  We can have a nice, clean heart!  We will not be utterly cast down.  The LORD upholds us with His hand!  Of course, we need to try to live a godly life before our Lord, but if we do sin, we need to confess it, believe that God Himself has forgiven us, and get "back in the saddle!"


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