This is Murphy. He’s a lot like Mary Poppins: practically perfect in every way. He is up-beat and happy, he comes running when I pull out the saddle and on the trail he goes along happily, almost unflappable.
Once upon a time, Murphy and I took to the trails with a person who’s horses often misbehave. They balk at the trail head, they back up and pin their ears back. They often flat refuse to work. After a while this person will give up and say something like, “I guess they just don’t feel like it.” If you know anything about horses, (and people ) none really want to work, or study or do anything that might actually be good for them. We are all free to choose , as Deuteronomy says, to choose what is set before us: life or death. God urges us to “Choose life so that we and our children might live.” (Deut. 30:19) Often, we do not.
Two days later, Murphy and I head out again, down our usual path. The sun was bright yellow, the sky deep blue. We got to the trail head and Murphy stopped. I urged him forward and he dropped his head to eat some grass. I pulled him up and he started walking backwards. I gave him a smart correction and then he walked me into a bush. That’s when I got mad. This horse had seen the other horses miss-behave and get to go home, so he thought it might work for him. (yes they are that smart) But a horse that is spoiled often ends up sold, sold and sold again and the end is never pleasant. I love Murphy too much to leave him to his own devices. The best thing you can do for an equine is to keep reminding them that good manners are most important. They are very much like humans. How often God must discipline me when I choose my own path. (Hebrews 12:16)
Murphy is a great horse. He’s gentle, loving, kind and has a good work ethic. He has his moments and so do I. Do I let the people around me influence my outlook and behavior? Or do I choose life and avoid the discipline of The One who loves me?
The next time we went out, Murphy was right back to his cheerful, old self. When we got back I gave him a good bath, (he loves to be scrubbed) and plenty of carrots. Here’s to choosing life!
Grace and Peace