The summer before I was drafted to serve in the United States Army, I decided to find a little excitement in my spare time.  My friends were participating in the rodeos in my part of the state.  So, I decided to join them for the fun.  My choice was bareback bronc riding.  Now, doesn’t that sound like a safe and fun thing to do?

I will never forget my first attempt at bronc riding.  You may notice I said “bronc” and not “horse.”  I had been riding horses all my life, sometimes bareback but mostly with a saddle.  When they had my bronc in the bucking chute, put the rigging on, and I eased into riding position, everything was just great.  Every thing was real calm just like most of the horses I had been riding all my life.  I thought this is not really bad at all.   Before I nodded my head to let them know I was ready, I did wonder what it would be like when they opened the gate.

Well, let me tell you.  I was totally unprepared for what happened when the gate opened.  In my wildest imagination I couldn’t believe the drastic change of going from “calm” to “storm.”  When the gate opens there are a lot of things to concentrate on.  On the first jump out of the chute, the rider must “mark the horse out. ” This means he must have the heels of his boots in contact with the horse above the point of the shoulders before the horse’s front legs hit the ground.  I am almost positive the horse is not too fond of the spurs jabbing into his shoulders.  Forget all about holding on and riding that beast.  If you fail to “mark,” you get zero points and are just there for the ride.  You must ride for 8 seconds and then you have to make the decision of how to get off.  Turning loose of the rigging is one way or you can wait for the “pickup” man. 

There are ways to score points during the ride, but on my first ride I was really concerned about staying on.  I wasn’t trying to get the bronc to go any particular direction….I let him decide and I just held on.  The rides got better at each rodeo, but my point in all this is that when the transition from “calm” to “storm” is something that you cannot imagine.  All you can really expect is the unexpected.

When trying to ride a bareback bronc, you depend on your God-given strength.  This is a contest between the strength of man and the strength of an animal. 

As we go through life we may spend some time in the “calm.”  As we travel through this life we will eventually be faced with a “storm.”  This is an entirely different contest.  When satan makes his attack on us, we find ourselves in quite a “storm.”  To win this contest, it is not our strength that will overcome.  We must call on the strength of The Lord and ride on that strength to bring “calm” back to our lives.  This is the peace that God promises.


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