Hangin’ and Draggin’

by Jake Hershey on June 24, 2012

Do you ever feel helpless?  Like you’re just hangin’ by a thread, danglin’ in the wind and the next gust of wind might just bust that last thread and send your life hurdling through space and time, with no direction whatsoever?

I remember a time I felt like that.  It was at a college rodeo practice.  The college I went to didn’t have a covered arena to buck horses in, so when it was too wet or cold to buck’em outside we just did the only logical thing…we set up a portable chute in the barn where the stalls were.  In hindsight, logical is a relative term when it comes to doing this, but that’s what we did.  Let me paint the picture for ya.

The barn was a fairly long, very narrow barn.  There were stalls along the entire length of both sides and there was enough room in the middle for a calf roping run.  In other words, it wasn’t wide enough to team rope in, but it was wide enough to rope calves in.  So the calf ropers would work the ground and rope calves in there.  Like I said, it wasn’t wide enough to team rope in…it wasn’t wide enough to buck horses in, either…but that didn’t stop us from doin’ it.

One cold and rainy afternoon we gathered the bucking horses, drug the portable chute into place and went to havin’ buckin’ horse practice.  There was a little red and white paint horse that was just a nice little jump/kicker and we all liked to get on him.  I lucked out and got to get on him that day.  I shook my face, we left and everything was goin’ pretty good.  Like I said, this horse was pretty small and that made it kind of tough to get aholt of him in the neck with your spurs-plus I never turned my toes out as good as I should have, so other than not getting aholt of anything when I went to set my feet in the neck, things were going good.

All of a sudden, ol’ paint decided to suck back and jump underneath himself.  I guess it was because I wasn’t setting my feet, but when he did that the next thing I knew, I was on the ground.  It happened in the blink of an eye…one second I’m on top, makin’ a good ride, havin’ a good time and the next second I’m on the ground.  This wasn’t a problem, as I have hit the ground more times in my life than your average yard dart.  The problem was what happened after I hit the ground.

Normally, you hit the ground and that’s it…rides over.  This time, I hit the ground and as soon as I did, I came up off the ground…then I hit the ground….then I came up off the ground…you get the idea.  For the first and only time in my life, I was hung in a stirrup…and I was hung good.  The horse, already flanked so he’d buck to begin with, bucked even harder as he realized that I was underneath him and yet still attached to him.  Let me tell you….there is no more helpless of a feeling than hanging by your foot, upside down, underneath a bucking horse.  I rolled to my belly and just hung there, waiting to see if I would live.  He made a good round and a half around the little arena when he managed to step squarely on the back of my head.  The force was enough to pull my foot out of the stirrup and I laid there, wondering what was broken.

I have never been so glad that calf ropers like a deep arena for their horses to slide and stop in.  My face was blacker than a struck match, as were my teeth, but I wasn’t hurt at all (maybe a little cut on the back of my head, but nothin’ to write home about).

You know, life is like one long bronc ride.  Sometimes everything is goin’ great.  You’re on top of it, doing everything you’re supposed to, havin’ a great time and lookin’ forward to the next jump.  But sometimes a jump comes that we’re not expecting and we end up hangin’ and draggin’, unable to do anything on our own to improve the situation.  And that’s when a lot of folks turn to God.

What we need to remember is that everything that happened up until the point we were hangin’ and draggin’ only happened because God allowed it to.  I got to wake up that day because God allowed me to.  I got to go to class (or choose to skip it) because God allowed me to.  I was walkin’ and talkin’, thinking and feeling, in college and able to ride broncs because God was with me and helped me do it.  Back then I didn’t think about that stuff the way that I do now.  But when I was helpless, I sure knew I needed God’s help.

Do you only turn to God when you’re hangin’ and draggin’, when you feel totally helpless?  Or do you realize that we’re all helpless in the sense that nothing we do- from breathing to raising a family to having a successful career, etc., happens because of ”us”.  It happens because God is blessin’ us and allowing us to use what He’s given us to succeed.

If yer hangin’ and draggin’ right now, realize God is the only one that can save you and ask Him for it.  If you’re sittin’ pretty, makin’ the ride of your life right now, realize it’s because God is allowing it-realize you’re helpless to do it on your own and thank him for the ride you’re makin’ together.

And remember that sooner or later the bronc of life is gonna throw a move that you didn’t see comin’.

Will you take it in stride and keep on ridin’ with God’s help?  Or will you believe the devil’s lie that you’re makin’ a good ride all by yourself and you don’t need God’s help….only to hang and drag?

He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and then lets’em hang and drag. 

Psalms 10:9 (Simplified Cowboy Version)

Jake Hershey 6/24/11

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  • This doesn’t just apply to the ones you don’t see comin’. Sometimes we see it conin’, and still step in the middle of it. The closer you stay to God, the easier it is to appreciate Him. Unfortunately, I’m usually hangin’ and draggin’….even when I see it comin’! Good message, Jake.

    By the way, it was a good thing that horse stepped on you head, before he hurt himself. A narrow arena like that and all….

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