Sonny was a great horse. He was smart. He was strong. He was well trained. He could do most things well.
He was also a thinker. He knew when you wore spurs and when you didn't. And he behaved accordingly. Every time. He could hold a bit in his teeth for miles. He was a 'spook for fun' horse. He liked to randomly jump shadows and one day would go belly deep in the mud, and balk he next. Rocks were either for scratching or they would eat you.
No matter what you asked, he had to think about it. He was a cheat.
Lefty was one of the best horses ever. So was Ranger. They were both abused and had a lot of fear. But once they trusted you, they trusted you with everything. They would walk over barbed wire fences, held down by one boot. They would chase a bull into dense brush. They would make sure you got home if you were sick, sore or tired.
No matter what you asked, they did it. Even when they were afraid they did it.
Lola is a 'mistatim'. That means Big Dog in Cree. She is curious. She is clever. She steals things, and plays with them. She can't be ridden because she spends all her time trying to watch you doing things on her back. She has not one mean bone in her body.
No matter what you ask of her, she is a goof. Big hearted and strong, she'll be a driving horse.
Then there is Tika and Belle. One hates me and the other respects me. Daughter and mother. As different as a tobiano and solid sorrel can be.
There are dogs like that too. Some try to cheat you. Some won't listen. Others do their best. Some just don't get it.
People are not all that different. We like things to make sense. We like a challenge, or we don't. Some people can and choose not to. Others struggle and somehow make it through. Some cheat, some pray. Some lie and steal. Others give all they have. And there are many in between.
Jonah was not unlike a few horses I've had. He wanted to do what God told him, as long as he liked it. He wasn't sure about asking the worst of the worst to repent. He was so unsure, in fact, that he ran away. That almost crashed a ship and got him a free fish belly ride. He wanted none of that redeeming the worst of the worst business. Like a good horse trainer, God didn't just lay the boots to him. He didn't get a bigger spade bit or a sharper pair of spurs. He didn't get a quirt and beat him into submission.
God let him get to the end of the line, and brought him back. Jonah had to learn that he could run but not far or for long before he could go where God sent him. Jonah had gotten used to being in step with God. Maybe sometimes a half step ahead even. Nineveh was not where he wanted to be.
Under-saddle, chasing cows, or even standing is where some horses don't want to be either. Jonah was the same way. We are the same way. The Holy Spirit is a gentle trainer and a light burden. The Holy Spirit is not heavy on us, nor is the Holy Spirit cruel and demanding. God requires our love. And by loving Him we trust him. And in trusting Him we are able to be led by Him. And we are obedient to Him because we want to be.
That, my friends, is love.
That, my friends, is faith.
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