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Creatures of Habit!

Creatures of Habit!

By Betsy Kelleher

I thought Traveller had learned to come to me when called…until I called him to come out of the paddock through a different gate!

The paddock fence had recently been redone and a wider new gate had been placed a few feet from the old narrow one, near the front of the barn. For several weeks, the gate was temporarily tied in place and we had used only the door into one side of the barn to put the horses out and bring them in.

They almost always came running the minute we called. Sometimes they would come racing for the door together. Sometimes Traveller would come first, with his eager walk, while Sammy would eat a few more bites of grass and come a-running at the last minute. Either way, Traveller often politely stood at the door and waited for Sammy to come through first.

One day in September, we planned to ride at Spanish Lake. After cleaning stalls, we would take the horses out of the paddock and load them directly into the trailer parked in front of the barn. The new gate was obviously more convenient than leading both horses all the way through the barn. We called, and both horses stopped grazing a moment and looked, then went back to their grass.

“I can see how this day’s going right now,” I commented with a laugh. We called again and again, and Russ held up his big carrot and Sammy finally saw it. He came single-footing in our direction, ears forward and black mane swaying with his Tennessee Walker stride. I called Traveller again, sure that he would follow. But instead, he trotted over to the barn door we usually called from and stood there with his head through the open upper part of the doorway.

Sammy was now at the gate, so Russ went ahead and loaded him into the trailer first, with no problem. Traveller still didn’t come. He cantered a circle in the corner then went back to the barn door again. I called several times, and he would look at me, then he would stick his head back in the open upper part of the barn door!

Russ and I were shaking our heads and laughing…why couldn’t this stupid horse just come to where we were? We had used the old gate many times before the new fence went in! Did Traveller think there was no gate here anymore? He should have followed Sammy if nothing else!

I finally had to walk into the paddock, halfway to where Traveller stood, before he turned and came toward me. I hope he realized that he lost his mint treat that I usually give him when he comes to me!

He loaded quickly and easily, as usual, and we were soon off for a great ride on the Spanish Lake County Park trail…our first ride, actually, for several weeks, and it turned out to be an absolutely perfect day! And both horses behaved like gentlemen. I soon forgave and forgot Traveller’s lack of smart obedience.

I couldn’t help but wonder…don’t we ourselves sometimes act like Traveller did? God calls to each of us in many different ways, sometimes from an unfamiliar perspective…and we often run to familiar places instead of obediently going directly to Him.

He calls to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)

We run to friends and family for comfort, to well-meaning humans who cannot give the rest that Christ gives. We all need good friends and a loving family, and many do not have either…but only God can give real peace and rest for our souls here on Earth and in Heaven.

Think how He must feel. He has what we need and we do not come to Him when He calls. We may run to the right places, but not to the right Person. We go to Church, and sometimes do not find God. We may pray often without hearing His answer. Perhaps that is because our minds are on things we are used to…things that worry and bother us, things that we want and our own plans for the future. We are distracted and preoccupied by ourselves and our own world. We need to fix our thoughts and our minds on only Him in our prayers and to seek His will above our own. We must learn to focus on His Presence.

In John 5:39-40, Jesus spoke harshly to the Jewish leaders, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Jesus later told one of his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And another time, he told the Pharisees, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”

Jesus Christ freely offers what we need and want, more than any human could possibly offer. It would be wise to hear His voice and go directly to the place where He waits. It isn’t far…for His Spirit is here among us, calling to us and reaching out to us. We only need to stop and look and listen…and respond. Just as we learn to settle down into a saddle with relaxed security, we can learn to “settle down” into a deep trusting, abiding faith in His Sovereignty.

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