Thick Brush, Wild Hogs and Faith

by Jake Hershey on July 1, 2012

Every part of the country has its own geographical challenges when it comes to gathering cattle.  Some places are steep and rocky with terrain that makes it pretty tough and dangerous to get around.  Some places require so much ground to run a few cows that it takes a days worth of riding just to gather and pen a few head.  In my little part of the world of central Texas, one of the biggest challenges is a plant which I believe to be some sort of a hybrid cross between the claws on satan’s hand and a mid evil torture device.  It’s also called a mesquite tree.  In case you didn’t know, mesquites are good for smokin’ meat but they ain’t good for pastures.  They can and will take over a pasture in a matter of no time.  They will grow one right next to the other and choke out a pasture so that all you can see is mesquites.  Mesquite trees have thorns that are sharp and they hurt.  Many a good cowpuncher and cow pony have returned from mesquite infested pastures covered with enough blood-oozing scratches and puncture wounds to attract a grizzly bear from 30 miles away.

Awhile back, I found myself in just this sort of pasture.  I was day working for a local rancher and we were gathering off a pasture that I’d never been to.  We got’em bunched and headed for the pens, but the dogs we had weren’t working worth a crap and we didn’t have enough cowboys, so long story short the cattle scattered.  I took off after some and after about 20 minutes of riding, found myself so thick in brush and mesquites that I didn’t know how I was gonna get out.  The horse I was riding stands 15.2 and as I looked around I realized that I wasn’t able to ride another step on anything that stood that tall without being decapitated.  Also, there was some coffee that had been screaming to be released from my bladder for about 45 minutes.  So, I got off my horse.  I planned on returning the filtered coffee back to the earth and then looking for a spot to lead my horse out of the chokingly thick brush.

As I was tending to the first job, my horse spooked.  Not bad, but I could tell he saw or smelled something that he didn’t like.  I was in no mood to be horse whispering, so I ignored what he was telling me.  As I buttoned up my blue jeans, I heard a rustle in the brush.  A stray cow, I hoped.  I was wrong.

Just as I buckled my belt, a wild hog came running right at my horse and myself.  Now, let me stop right there and clarify a few things.

I was raised in the Midwest.  We have hogs, but they are domesticated, in pens.  I tried my hand at a little pig farmin’ when I was a kid and liked it so much that I have never lived anywhere near a pig farm since I graduated high school.  My neighbor trapped several wild hogs last year, that I would go look at.  They would do their best to bust through the trap and kill me.  I have several friends who hunt hogs in Texas and talk about how they try to kill them.   I have seen American Hoggers on tv.  That is the extent of my knowledge on wild hogs.

So, I buckled my belt and this hog comes running right at us.  It’s a good thing I had just relieved myself, or I would have done so in my pants.  I couldn’t see the sucker until it was about 20 feet away and luckily it ran right past us and then stopped about 15 feet behind us.

A sure enough top hand Texas cowpuncher probably would have swung up on his pony, shook out a loop and tossed it around that hogs neck, flanked and tied it and then brought it back to show all his buddies how tough he was.

I however, bailed on my horse, laid down as low as I could and spurred him in the guts without even sticking my feet in my taps.  I didn’t care which way my pony went or how he got there, as long as it was away from that hog.  We busted brush for a ways and besides a bunch more thorn induced cuts and scrapes on both of us, we made it out unscathed.

How many times are we riding through the pasture of life, enjoying our job as Christians, when all of a sudden the dogs won’t work, the cattle scatter and we find ourselves surrounded by the thorns of life with seemingly no way out?  And instead of staying on our horse (our faith), we choose to get off and figure things out on our own.  About that time, God warns us that somethin’ bad is comin’ our way and we’d better listen to Him and get back on our horse, but we choose to ignore Him.

I don’t know if that hog would have attacked me.  I didn’t want to stick around to find out.  As far as I’m concerned it’s by the grace of God that it didn’t.  I dang sure know that there’s been a lot of times in my life where I was riding my horse called faith, but as soon as the brush got sharp and thick I decided to quit using faith and do things on my own.  Even when faith told me that somethin’ bad was comin’, I chose to ignore it.  And it’s by the grace of God that none of those bad things have killed me, either.  What about you?  Do you keep on riding and trust in faith when things get thick and sharp?  Or do you get off and try to do things on your own?  Do you pay attention to the warning signs that bad things are comin’, or do you ignore them until it’s too late?

God gave us faith.  Just like a good horse, it’s up to us what we do with it.  And it can only help you if you’ll use it and listen to it.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Jake Hershey 7/1/12

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  • Good one, Jake! Enjoyed the wild cow tale too!

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