Tonight’s to-do list:
I often have topics that I want to capture to remember or share on my blog and without putting it on my to-do list, it seems that weeks get away before I’m writing again!
I taught in my Bible study class a couple of weeks ago from Jeremiah 2 – 6 which at first reading seemed to be a lecture similar to something you might have heard as a teenager reiterating the same things over and over again. Why won’t you change, give up what goes against what I have taught and promised you? However, there is a pattern in Scripture where before there is a “lecture” there is always a request – “return to me” or “come to me”. No matter what we have done/are currently engaged in we are never too far away from God for him to not request and desire for us to return to him.
In the particular verses I was teaching the Northern and Southern Kingdoms were engaged in idolatry and not willing to give up their idols, even though they had been consistently promised a better life if they were obedient. Something I would liken to holding on to what you know, strictly based on fear of the unknown, no matter what the consequence might be in the interim. Sometimes it might be fear of the past or believing by holding on to whatever it is now will change the outcome.
I have always had an appreciation for children and the lessons in faith that come from them. Recently I was at my parents with my nephew who was not quite four. He had been out to ride horses with Papa and was riding one of the oldest horses in the barn, Paint. He got to the top of the pond and Paint stumbled and caught him off guard, and he slid off the side. He wasn’t hurt, more stunned and understandably fearful to get back on. When he got back to the front of the pasture, I got him from my Dad and he was recounting the story to me. I told him about when I was thrown from a horse, that his Daddy had been thrown from a horse, that Papa had been thrown – heck, even his Great Grandma had been thrown, though he never knew her. I told him about always having to pay attention to the horse when you’re riding, even when Papa is leading you, you have to be paying attention and holding on. All that happened that day was a simple stumble, which caught him off guard. He is really into Rodeo and Cowboys right now, so quickly could relate his story and told it with great zeal a little later. Ultimately we asked him to get back on Paint and ride him into the barn, I would walk beside him and he would get off when we got to the barn. He was hesitant at first, but knowing the lesson that if you fall off, you have to get back on and ride, we knew it was important for him to ride again immediately. He agreed and rode into the barn just like a Cowboy.
As I was recounting the story of when I got thrown to him it all came back to me just like it was a few minutes before he fell off. I was riding my horse Pal, we were at the Ranch where our horses were boarded and my whole family was out for a ride a decent distance from the barn. Pal never liked water and would frequently “hop” over water when he saw it. This instance he didn’t see green/marshy water that looked like grass, and I was relaxed enjoying our Saturday ride. Pal jumped as soon as his foot hit that water and I went right off the side of him landing hard on the ground. I was certain I had broken my arm and was unable to ride back. I didn’t. And, after much convincing and the patience of my Dad, I got back on and rode back to the barn.
A couple of weeks later we were back at my parents and my nephew was out to ride again, this time on Sugar. All of the dogs were trailing us, or really my Dad because they are his shadow, and Sugar became annoyed with them. Just like we talked about my nephew was holding on and paying attention, but I was at his side, should he need me. Sugar had enough of the dogs and began to turn in circles and I immediately reached for my nephew to get him off. He was holding on so tight that even with my arms around him and telling him to “let go” he wasn’t letting go. He IS a cowboy. He did finally let go and I held him for a few minutes while Papa worked Sugar in the round pen to iron out her crankiness.
I began to think about how often in life we hold onto circumstance, things or people out of fear and the unknown. When really, God has given us the direction needed to overcome anything in His ultimate love no matter what happens in the temporal of this world. He just asks that we surrender into his arms, and believe without a doubt that He will catch us. Though how we will be caught isn’t always known, the promise of His love is never going to fail. Sometimes choices and circumstance have consequence, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get back up and ride.
A couple of my favorite verses so perfectly display this love … “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is esay, and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Isn’t that usually where we are, so exhausted by our own intiatives and wills, that we just want to surrender, but are afraid to give in which might seem like giving up. It is my prayer that when I am asked to let go or disciplined by my Heavenly Father I would be confident in his love for me that I would let go and trust that he will catch me, even in times that it seems I am doing everything right and shouldn’t have to let go. My hope for you is that you will fall confidently into the loving embrace of a Father who treasures you and knows the absolute best for you even when you can’t fathom how He could catch you or change what you’re holding onto. I know I will always be able to get up and get back on and ride because of forgiveness, grace and ultimate unfailing love.