Anchored With God’s Stirrups

I wonder how many times I have put my foot into a stirrup, and pulled myself up into the saddle…

Probably too many times to count.

And yet, each time I do, and regardless of the horse that I am getting on – young, old, trained, untrained – one thing is always the same.

Once I have the saddle firmly cinched to the horse, I make the choice to step up into the stirrup.img_7242

And I don’t have trouble doing that, because I trust that stirrup to hold my weight of my left foot as I swing my right foot over the back of the horse.  Once I am sitting on her back, I can go for my ride…unafraid of my saddle tipping off the horse, because…

My feet are in the stirrups of the saddle that is firmly attached to the horse.

This keeps the saddle balanced on the horse’s back.  It doesn’t slip from side to side.

This is important because there are times when I face unexpected challenges on my ride.

I remember one ride Cali and I were taking one spring morning.  We were riding along the edge of a forest, when we both heard a grunt from the bush.  Faster than I could blink or react, she spun around and bolted.  I got her slowed down, and then we turned back to look at the bush.  Sure enough, after a few minutes a bear ambled out of the bush, totally unconcerned that he had nearly given my steed a heart attack:D

But you know what?

In all that chaos, my saddle didn’t slip or fall off Cali…

Because my saddle was firmly attached to her back and…

My feet were in the stirrups.

Compare this with another time, when I was younger.  I didn’t understand the importance of firmly attaching my saddle to the horse OR keeping my weight balanced between the two stirrups.

My dad and I were out for a Sunday afternoon ride.  I remember we decided to lope for a distance.  We were riding through a cutline, so he took the lead and I followed along behind.  Ever so slowly my saddle began to tip to the side until it came to the point of no return.

I am not sure how long I clung to the side of the horse, but you can imagine the end result!

As my saddle tipped upside down, I made a not so elegant dismount from the horse…

And belly flopped onto the ground, receiving a face full of dirt as a reward:) 

Lately, my mind has been corralled by the thoughts of how something so basic is critical for a positive, safe ride.  For you see, with stirrups and a saddle that is properly cinched to the horse, I know that my ride will turn out ok…regardless of what we face…a bear, steep slopes, a mud hole, a run through the field…

When I head out on a ride, I don’t know for certain what I will be facing, but I am not worried or concerned or afraid…

img_0032Because my feet are in the stirrups of a saddle that is firmly attached to the horse.

In much the same way, when I get up each morning, I don’t know what unexpected adventures I may be facing that day.  Nor do I have knowledge of how the planned events will turn out.   I am unaware of a new trial that is about to come to my doorstep.

Regardless of what I may be facing, there are three truths that I take a hold of each day.  Getting a firm grasp of these three truths is very much like placing my feet in the stirrups of my saddle that is firmly attached to the back of my horse.  With them, I don’t have to be worried, concerned or afraid about the known and unknown circumstances that I will be facing.

What are these truths?

TRUTH 1:  GOD’S LOVE

Psalm 57:10 says, “For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens.”  Ephesians 3:18, 19 speaks of the width, height, depth and lengths of God’s love that is so great it is beyond human comprehension.

I find it difficult to understand the depths of God’s love for me…but here is a brief attempt to describe a little of what God’s love is to me…img_9853

The intensity of God’s love for me is like the thundering hooves of a multitude of horses, and yet as tender as a bird that protects her young under the cover of her wings, giving them refuge.

His great love for me is higher than the highest heavens…

His steadfast love for me is unshakeable and unmoveable…

His surrounding love encompasses me as He holds me in the palm of His hand…

His zealous love is actively working all things for my good…

His tender love simply delights in gazing upon me as His child…

His compassionate love sees my helplessness as He hides me under the shelter of His wings and provides for every need…

His merciful love does not give me what I deserve, but instead forgives me when I wrong Him…

His gracious love teaches me that it is ok to be weak, because He is strong…

His costly love gave all – His One and Only Son – so that I could have life…

His refining love removes the dross and purifies me so that I will come forth as gold…

For me, getting a grasp of God’s love is very much the equivalent to a firmly attached saddle.  It doesn’t move…ever.  It doesn’t change…ever.  It holds fast…always.

TRUTH 2:  GOD’S FAITHFULNESS

Psalm 57:10 speaks of God’s faithfulness as that which reaches the skies.  Psalm 119:90 says that God’s faithfulness continues through all generations. Lamentations 3:22, 23 defines God’s faithfulness as great…the idea being that God’s faithfulness is mighty, continuous, exceedingly abundant, so numerous that it cannot be counted.

dare-to-hopeFor me, knowing that God is faithful reminds me that He will not change.  He remains the same…even when the life in which I live is turning me upside down and inside out.  He is my anchor.  My rock.

God’s faithfulness also reminds me that He WILL fulfill all His promises…every single one…and that for me is huge!  When I can’t make sense of life’s circumstances, I can totally rely on the firmness of His promises to me.  Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:31 – 39, Philippians 1:6, 1. Peter 5:7, 10, and Psalm 55:22 are just a few of the ones that I keep tucked in my heart and my mind.

Understanding and choosing to believe in God and His faithfulness is like putting my foot into the stirrup and lifting myself off the ground.

TRUTH 3:  GOD’S GOODNESS

Psalm 119:68 says, “You are good and what you do is good.”  Psalm 145:9 says, “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Knowing and believing that God is good and is working all things – good, bad, difficult, easy, failures, successes, pain, joy, unanswered questions – for my good is a huge comfort for me.

Getting a grasp of this truth is the equivalent to me swinging my right leg over the saddle putting my foot into the last stirrup.

img_7262-1God’s love.

God’s faithfulness.

God’s goodness.

Life is difficult, but armed with a firm grasp or belief of these truths, it is possible to meet the challenges that pounce on us out of nowhere, the uphill struggles that leave us breathless and weary, the battles that wage war against us, and the trials that endure through many seasons of life with a confident, sound mind and a peaceful heart, because I am firmly anchored by God’s love, faithfulness and goodness and not by my circumstances.

Because of God, it is possible to awake in the morning and proclaim…

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge.

I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster is passed.

My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.

Awake, my soul!  Awake harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.  Psalm 57:1, 7 – 11