Have you ever struggled with God? I don’t mean struggle against God, though I’m sure some have. I’m speaking more of struggling together with God to grasp what he is up to. Maybe it’s a hard teaching from the Bible you are struggling to understand. Maybe it’s an inexplicably unanswered prayer. Maybe a point of obedience that makes no sense to you. We don’t like struggle, but struggling with God through issues is actually a positive thing. If you struggle against God you’ll lose, but if you struggle with him there are tremendous blessings to be gained.
How does that work? On a basic level it can be compared to the relationship I had with my old mare. When she first came into my life she was already into her prime but hadn’t had much finishing put on her. Apparently a good part of her life to that point had been up in the bush of Northern Alberta around Conklin running with the herd belonging to folks from that community. The horses essentially ran free and when someone wanted to ride they would just ask around if anyone had seen where the herd was at.
When I began
riding her you could get her to go, you could steer her if you pulled her head in the desired direction, and if you had enough space you could eventually get her to stop. She also had this rearing thing she’d do if she didn’t like what you asked her to do. But I liked the look of her eye and decided she’d be my horse. I started from scratch with her as though she’d never been ridden, and together we struggled for many hours.
But in that struggle we came to know each other, and she came to trust me. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do and wasn’t anywhere she wouldn’t go. She was the one I put my 2 year old son on to learn to ride, and the one I used to drag home the Christmas tree out of the bush, closing the barbed wire gate behind us from her back. Working together at a guest ranch we climbed up and down cliffs, crossed rivers, and led trail rides for Japanese tourists who spoke no English. With the crack of a whip we’d race along side the horse herd, gathering them for the day’s trail rides, and later I’d fire a pistol off her while we “held up” a bus of tourists. Over the years we’ve pushed cows through deep bush, open prairie and just about everything in between. We cut out calves, and then roped and dragged them to the branding irons. We even rode in the Calgary Stampede Parade.
None of this would have happened without going through a struggle together. Similarly, it’s in the struggles we go through with God that we really come to trust him; that we learn to know him. So embrace the struggle.
Heading out in the evening for an overnight ride.This was my Grandpa’s last ride. (We switched hats) He was a pastor too but had worked on a ranch in his youth.One of my favorite pictures, my boys and my mare.