Beyond Belief

by Kevin on January 8, 2016

My ten year old hands pulled the bull rope tight and Tony wrapped the tail around his wrist and then stuck it through his pinky finger. He was going all in.
Tony and I were best friends and we were going to be bullriders. His dad bought two roping steers and we were practicing for the NFR. We had ridden these two miniature versions of Bodacious so much that they really didn’t offer much in the way of competition, but we believed that we had come up with a way to spice things up.
As soon as Tony was ready, I slid down in the chute with by my back against his and slip my hand underneath the flank rope.
The crowd was already going wild…all four of them screamed their approval and “double-dog dares”.
We could see it now: Songs would be written, stories would be told, plaques and statues in our honor would be dedicated, and movies would be made.
When I was set, I whispered and asked Tony if he was. He affirmed and we counted to three and then yelled, “Let’s go boys…let’s go” in unison.
To quote Ray Stevens:
What happened next is hard to tell,
Some thought it was heaven others that it was hell,
That steer exploded up out of the chute like the rankest saddle bronc horse ever—straight up in the air and we went right with him; two cowboys, doing the impossible and stunning the world. He headed out into the arena and then turned back both ways. Lane Frost himself would have already come off twenty seconds ago, but we were hanging right in there…
That’s what I figured would happen when the chute opened.
What really happened is the steer trotted out a few yards and then kicked up a little bit and our two heads smacked each other like two war-hammers in some epic Viking battle to the death. We fell off different ways and laid there and bawled in the arena.
Strike that…we didn’t really cry. We lamented the loss of infamy…that’s it. What some thought were tears were just drops of perspiration in the West Texas summer heat.
Some people’s Christian lives are just like this though. These are people who say they believe in God, but they don’t do anything the way he says to do them.
They want to ride double with God. They want to take God on their grand adventure. They want God to go where they want to go and do things they want to do. They don’t follow God…they want God to follow them.
Then there is another group of people…the Saddlehorn Christians.
The only purpose He serves is to save them when things get rough. When life goes wrong, they grab onto Him with all their might, but when the pitching ends, so does their faith. They go right back to what got them in a wreck in the first place. They go back on all the promises they made about turning their lives around and doing things God’s way. When the wreck is over, so is their faith.
Then there’s the third group of people who “believe in” God, but don’t have any faith in His promises or his ways. They are the ones who say, “Give God the reins”.
That sounds good doesn’t it? I’ve even said it and even preached it, but I’ve come to realize that this doesn’t work. Why? Because if you’ve even had someone come by and take your reins and lead you off, the first thing you try to do is get them back. Every. Single. Time.
Giving God the reins is no different. It sounds good, but we immediately go to trying to get them back and God doesn’t fight us.
So what do we do?
We hand Him the bridle, then the saddle, then the blanket, then the horse. Get off and walk with God. It’s not enough just to believe he exists, you must get to know Him, follow Him, learn from Him, depend on Him, wait on Him, travel scary trails with Him.
The Son of God became a man so that men could become son’s of God.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. -Hebrews 11:6

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