Fences, Horses and Peppermints

My family recently moved into a new neighborhood. We now live at the end of a cul-de-sac, which butts up to a horse pen. Inside the horse pen are six beautiful horses. I talked to their owner and she shared with me that all of her horses are rescued animals. The magnificent creatures all used to be show horses or racehorses.

The previous owners of the horses lost interest in these animals because they could no longer perform at a high level. So…she takes them, cares for them and uses them to teach people how to ride. They are truly beautiful creatures and I must admit that I enjoy seeing them each day as I leave and come home.

Their owner told me that I could stand at the fence, call out to them and give them treats. She said they love peppermints. On several occasions I have loaded my pockets with mints, stood at the fence and called out to the horses. Honestly, I haven’t had much success in getting them to come to me. I know they hear me calling because they all stand there and look at me. But for some reason, they will not come to me. Maybe it’s because they don’t know me. Maybe it’s because another human hurt them. Maybe it’s because I’m not using a call they understand. I don’t know. All I know is that if they came to me I would be good to them. I would give them the mints they enjoy.

One day while going through my routine of trying to get the horses to come to me it dawned on me…I wonder if this is how God feels when He calls out to humanity. He stands at the fence (which represents our circumstances) and calls out to us. We hear Him calling, but maybe we don’t understand the call or His intentions. Maybe we’ve been disappointed or hurt in the past and we are a little shy about the whole “walk by faith” thing. So, we stand there and look dumb founded. Settling to eat hay when we could have a sweet mint. Satisfied to stand alone when we could have Someone touch us gently and speak kind words to us.

I don’t know for sure, but I think the reason the horses will not come to me is because they are not sure I will be kind to them. They just don’t know and they are afraid to trust. Funny, but I think that is one of the primary problems we have when God calls out to us. Will He really be kind to me? Can I really trust Him?

I must admit I am a fair weather horse caller. If it’s cold outside or raining, I don’t stand at the fence and call for the horses. I know God’s not like that. He lovingly and patiently stands on the edges of our circumstances and calls out to us–rain or shine. Why does He do that? I know I stand at the fence and call to the horses because I want to be kind to them, but God calls for a much deeper and significant reason. The Bible says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4, NLT)

Final Election Thoughts

Except for a couple of Twitter comments and several private conversations, I have remained mostly quiet about our current presidential election. Now that the dust has settled and people have absorbed the political shock of what actually happened, I would like to say something.

Once the presidential nominees were secured, I was personally disappointed with our presidential options. As I watched the campaigns unfold I became more and more certain that my hope was in God alone. I determined I would educate myself, pray, and vote. I was surprised by the outcome of the election much like the rest of the world. I do not know if President-elect Trump will be a good president or not. I only know that my commitment and service to the Lord Jesus Christ is not emboldened or diminished by who sits in the White House.

Here are some things I observed (and hopefully have learned):

  • If God’s people prayed for the Kingdom of God like they prayed for the kingdoms of men, the kingdoms of men would be different.
  • The political process is a broken system, but it is a system God can use. All through the Bible we find broken political systems, but God still used the political processes of men (many of them dictators) to accomplish His purposes. I am not saying that dictatorship is a good political system. I believe it to be one of the worst, but even in spite of that God moved, worked, and redeemed people. I do not think our current political process with all of its faults; weaknesses and corruption will stop God from moving, working, and redeeming people in the United States.
  • On a similar note, the Bible mentions several political leaders. Some of those leaders had character (like Joseph and Daniel) and some of them had serious character flaws (Agrippa and Herod come to mind). If you notice, God used both types of individuals to carry on His plan of redemption. I have been a bit shocked by the reluctance of God’s people to accept God’s sovereignty in who our presidential candidates where (myself included). God can use the flawed heart or change the heart of any current political leader. This does not mean that we should not care about who is running for office. However, our disagreement with a particular political candidate (or party) does not give us permission to promote fear or hatred if our desired candidate (or party) is not being accepted by society. When we engage in this type propaganda we make our God small and turn government into our god.
  • Without a doubt there is a divide in America. Those who hold to Judeo-Christian values are lining up against those who hold to post-Christian values. The divide has always existed, but it is growing and accelerating. God’s people must remain true to the very values that are helping create the divide (a divide that must exist). This past election was a moment of celebration for the conservative church. However, this is not a moment to gloat. Now is not the time to tell someone how they should feel or that they should not be afraid (those who lost in the vote are feeling what we in the conservative church would feel if the shoe was on the other foot). They are afraid their rights are in danger (by the way that is what I heard many of my conservative friends predicting for conservatives before the election). Patriotic posts with a hint of self-righteousness from the victory seat are not a welcome sight right now. If our words cannot be laced with humility, kindness, and encouragement then maybe we should be quiet for a while. Not out of fear, but out of respect for the common good. Just because we have the freedom to say something doesn’t mean we should.
  • Last, I believe the Church has an awesome opportunity to shine in this moment of history. What is ahead of us is two roads we can walk down. One road is the staunch path of victory. From that road the Church can sing songs and smugly smile burning any chance of building bridges with those whose values are different from ours. I hope we don’t walk down that road. The other path, a tougher but more productive way, begs us to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of building a bridge so we can place ourselves in a position to be a witness for Christ. Our values implore us to love our enemies, to be good to those who are mean to us and to pray for those who don’t see the world the same way we see it. The very values that have called us to choose a side also call us to love all people no matter their race, social status, political views, or sexual orientation.
%d bloggers like this: