All of my life, I have heard how important it is to get back on the horse. If a person is riding a horse and falls off, the possibility exists that they may develop a lifelong fear of horses if they do not climb back into the saddle right away. When they are first learning to ride, or if they are training a horse, they may even have the unfortunate experience of falling repeatedly. Yet, for all of the bumps and bruises, broken bones and concussions, they are encouraged to dust themselves off and ride again.
In reality, life is a lot like riding a horse. If we get knocked down, we have to stand back up again. If we find ourselves with our face in the dirt, we must find the courage to get up, wash the dirt off, and move on. And if we fall into a situation that we cannot get out of on our own, we need to call on Jesus to help us. Sometimes, we need to simply avoid the horse altogether. When you look at the parallel between riding a horse and living life, there are times when it is not always in our best interest to get back on the horse. For there will likely be a pivotal moment in all of our lives when all we really need to do is get off the horse.
Let’s look at the world of equines. Would you choose to ride a bucking bronco, or would you prefer a trail ride on a well-trained thoroughbred? Unless you are a member of the rodeo circuit, you would probably prefer a nice, relaxing ride on a gentle horse. Surely, there would be less chance of you falling off the horse if you chose the latter. Even if you wear a helmet, boots, and all of the appropriate safety gear, there still exists the possibility of sustaining an injury. Either option comes with some risk involved. Yet, by choosing the tamer horse, you can greatly decrease the likelihood of suffering a serious injury. One wise choice could essentially be the difference between life and death.
We are faced with similar choices in life. We may see the bucking bronco as the glamorous or adventurous option, failing to see the danger that awaits. This “bucking bronco” could represent any decision we make in life. It could be a decision to drink and drive, take drugs, or abuse a child or spouse. Or it could represent a choice to consistently slander someone, ignore a relative or long-time friend, or hold a grudge against a friend or family member. Because of our inability to see the consequences of our choice, we may encounter unexpected hurdles. Each time we jump over a hurdle, we may fall off the horse. Still, get back on the horse and persevere, hoping things get better. We repeatedly get back on the horse, only to find that things get worse instead.
There are many temptations in this world. Satan wants to ensure that you have every opportunity to take advantage of them, and he will stop at nothing to make sure you focus on the bucking broncos of life. He does not want you to choose the straight and narrow path, but instead, he wants you to choose to travel down the wide road of destruction (Matthew 7:13). Much like the bucking bronco, this path may seem alluring. You may fantasize about what it would like to experience the thrill, but once you are on that horse, you may get bucked off and find yourself crumpled on the ground. That thrill may cause you to get back on the horse. But if you want to live your life, you need to get off the horse.
In reality, there are times when we shouldn’t get on the horse in the first place. But if you find yourself on a bucking bronco, hold on tight until you find a safe place to dismount the horse. And if you fall off, God will be there to pick you up and carry you along. Psalm 145:13-14 (NIV) says, “The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The LORD upholds all who fall.” Trust in the Lord today. He will never disappoint you. He has your best interest at heart. He knows how to avoid the dangers of bucking broncos on the path of destruction, and He can show you how to enjoy a smooth ride on the straight and narrow path.
God wants us to make wise decisions. He gives us the freedom to choose our own paths, but He hopes that we will always have our best interest at heart. When we find ourselves sitting atop a wild horse, getting bucked off consistently, we need to ask God to guide us to a place of safety. Inevitably, the first thing we need to do is to get off of the horse and then stay off the horse. Getting back on will only result in further disappointments in life. Don’t be disappointed with life. Look to God, the One who will never disappoint you. No matter how many times you have fallen off the horse, God will take your brokenness and make you whole.
In Christ’s Love,