Originally published Saturday, 09 March 2013.
When I was 10 years old, my parents took us on a road trip across the country. I’ve been blessed to visit places that I may not have seen otherwise. My sister, Megan, and I were overjoyed for this adventure. Our stops on the trip included amazing places like Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, the Grand Canyon and Four Corners. My favorite stop during this 2 week journey was at Yellowstone National Park. We rented a small, quaint wood cabin in the park and enjoyed the peaceful scenery. One particular day, we decided to go on a guided horseback tour of the park. My mom stayed behind, but the rest of us happily pranced over to the tour office. Megan and I are from the city, so we were elated at the chance to actually ride a real-life horse. Or so I thought. The tour guide carefully selected our horses. Dad got the strong, mature black horse named Big Ben. Megan got the happy, pretty horse named Double. I was next and so excited to meet my horse. My smile vanished as the tour guide brought out... a mule. "Here ya go little lady,” said the guide, “This is your horse Bud." I looked over at Megan sitting on her beautiful golden horse. I was annoyed, but didn’t want to be rude. Was this a joke? “I don’t think this is a horse,” I said to the group. The guide patted my back. He replied, “Sure it is. Alright folks, are you ready?” You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. This so-called horse is clearly a donkey. Bud was a stubborn “horse” and protested this guided tour by inconveniently stopping along the path. On several occasions, I had to dig my ankle into his side and yell “Come on Bud”. Sometimes the guide would stop the tour and coax the donkey into walking mode. The mule wanted nothing to do with this tour and had little interest in my excitement to be riding a “horse” in the forest. Bud stopped on the trail and just stood there. I watched my family disappear around the corner with their real horses. I kicked and kicked and did everything I could to get him moving. But, he wouldn’t budge. This story reminded me of a metaphor for our relationship with the Lord. Have you ever felt stuck along a path and try anything to get the Lord to move? You might kick and scream, but nothing moves. You’re trapped while everyone continues to move ahead. The guide in the metaphor represents friends or family that come along to get you moving again. Without their assistance, you might still be trapped and sinking in one spot. I am not referring to God as a donkey but that is who He represents in this analogy. We kick and try to force God to move on our own power, but He won’t budge. We beg and plead with Him, but God remains still. The Lord might keep us in a spot, no matter how much we dislike it. There is nothing that He does without a purpose. We can beg and scream but it won’t change. God wants us to trust Him and allow Him to move on His terms, not our own. While we wait upon the Lord, remember to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Who knows when you’ll have the opportunity to return to this particular path? Hold on to God and don’t lose sight of what’s right in front of you. The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. - Isaiah 40:28