A skittish paint mare snorted and her eyes widened as her trainer approached her with a terrifying object in his hand. The thing was big and noisy. He could wad it into a ball or unroll it and let it flap in the breeze. It snapped and crackled and crinkled, and moved chaotically. All those factors combined to horrify the mare.
She couldn't get away because he held her lead rope in his hand. She scrambled backwards and thrashed from side to side, but the ghastly thing was inescapable.
She had to face it, because the trainer would not let her run away. She was probably wondering why she ever trusted him in the first place.
After several minutes she braced herself and let him get closer with the thing in his hand. Then he brushed her with it, unfolded some of it and waved it around.
Finally she let him unfold it completely and drape it over her.
She looked pretty silly covered in a blue tarp but with the trainer's help, she survived the ordeal.
All the while horse trainer Lew Sterrett preached to a crowd at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, using horses to illustrate Biblical truths about faith, trust and leadership.
This illustration from Sterrett's "Sermon on the Mount" program stayed in my mind.
While he was working with the mare and the tarp he explained that everything is in God's hand, even trouble.
Everything is in God's hand, including but not limited to my worries about my family, the farm and drought and my writing career.
The trainer meant no harm to the horse. The exercise would de-sensitize her and make her more useful in the future, more trusting and more obedient.
I've been trying to look at my troubles that way -- that I can trust the Lord to lead me through situations, that he has a plan, that he is higher than I am and knows where we are going just like a well-trained horse going down a trail.
Just like every other part of our lives, our writing endeavours are in the Lord's hand.