It’s freezing outside! The temperature is in the high teens, sleet is coming down, and ice is so heavy on the trees that their branches are drooping down. And I spent the morning out in it! Am I crazy or what! I should have known better, especially after spending yesterday afternoon in it also.
I hadn’t planned to spend two days in this artic temperature…and for Texas it’s really cold! But when RJ came racing up to the house (well, going as fast as a tractor can go) and yelling at me that he needed help, I immediately grabbed every piece of warm clothing I could find and ran outside not knowing what he needed me to do.
I discovered that our horses had gotten out of their pasture and were running loose. I had visions of them running up and down the highway, but they had escaped and were running in the farthest part of our small ranch/retreat center. So I jumped into the truck and took off to the acreage designated for the horses.
RJ stationed me at the gate. My job was to keep the two horses that he had rounded up and returned to their pasture inside the gated area while being alert to open the gate when he headed the other five horses my way. I was supposed to open the gate and lure the runaway horses into the pasture while keeping the other two from escaping again. I was also supposed to stay out of everyone’s way to keep from being trampled. So here I stood—alert—with the bait sack of feed.
You’ve seen roundups like this in the movies and on TV. With the skill of an athlete, the cowboy herds the horses/cattle toward the fence and magically gets every animal back in their rightful place. But have you ever seen a cowboy using a tractor to herd horses? Those horses didn’t know what to think of it either!
When I saw RJ come up over that hill with those horses in front of him, I whooped and hollered! He zigged and sagged just like a professional barrel racer. I think the horses thought he was on some genetically enhanced giant horse. Meanwhile, trying not to double over with laughter, I had my hands full keeping the two horses I was in charge of away from the gate area so I would be ready to open the gate when the runaway horses arrived.
It took both of us working together to accomplish this feat, but we managed with such grace no one would have known that this was my first horse roundup! As soon as RJ drove through the gate, I shut it and quickly got in the truck. My instructions were to hold the feed sack out the window of the truck, shake it, and draw the horses to follow me while RJ picked up their individual feed troughs. We were to meet at the group of trees and set up their feeding station closer to the protection of the trees.
As RJ arrived with the troughs, I grabbed one at a time, broke up the ice, and dumped the ice out. Then RJ followed behind me pouring feed/gain in each one. We’ve learned that it’s easier to have a trough for each horse. And because my horse is such a gentleman (notice I didn’t say ‘whimp’), I’ve discovered that I have to stand beside him while he’s eating or the other horses shoo my beautiful, gentle, paint horse away from his food! So here I stood in freezing weather, sleet stinging my face, my snowsuit had ice all over it, and my hat was frozen to my scarf, standing in mud and frozen rain water protecting my horse. When one of the other more aggressive horses started to come toward my horse, I stood up taller, put my hands in the air, and told them they better not come over to my horse’s food. I even told those 1,500-2,000 pound horses to stay away from my horse (like they were afraid of me!).
One time I even said, “You stay away from my horse. I’m protecting him!” And God whispered into my frozen ear, “That’s what I say to the enemy for you all the time!” I immediately remembered that “…the Lord God, who goes before me, will fight for me” (Deut. 1:30). That “God will be an enemy to my enemies and an adversary to my adversaries” (Ex. 23:22). That “no weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue which rises against me in judgment, God shall condemn” (Is.54:17).
As I stood there in the freezing rain, my heart was warmed by God reminding me that “He is faithful to guard me from the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:3) and “because God is for me, who can be against me” (Romans 8:31). The Lord is my Protection, my Refuge, and my Shelter in the midst of the storms of life. All of a sudden, the ice on my sleeves, the sleet, and the cold wind didn’t bother me anymore. I was warmed by His love in the middle of an ice storm!
I wonder if you have that same confidence that God is protecting you. Maybe you are facing a difficult, fierce storm in your life right now. I don’t know what circumstances you are in the middle of at this moment, but this I do know, because the Lord has “overcome the world” He can overcome any challenge you face. You and I will not experience anything that God can’t handle! When we stay focused on our Protector, we “have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Heb. 7:25)!
I’m praying for you!