Last weekend I went to the rodeo with my daughter and grandson.
It is one of the annual events that we love to do together. We buy our kettle corn and settle in to watch cowboys and cowgirls race, tie steers and hop around on the backs of bucking horses and bulls.
This year a new clown came to entertain us and distract raging bulls. He had opinions and wasn’t afraid to put them out there, even making us gasp a time or two. He got rolled around a bit in a barrel by a stirred-up bull after the cowboy got thrown off. That always brings a collective gulp from the crowd.
Ride ‘Em Clown!
But it turned out that he had another talent. He strolled into the showground with two huge Clydesdale beauties. Of course, after the make-believe goading, his pretense of fear gave way to help (that he didn’t really need) in mounting the standing still horses. After the obligatory vault over them to the ground on the other side, he finally landed on their backs. Those were some patient horses. They didn’t seem to move a muscle with all the shenanigans.
The MC shouted another false dare, and the clown got to his feet – that is one foot on each horse. We clapped and he urged them to take some steps. The horses moved in perfect tandem. The MC told us to clap louder so the Clydesdales would move faster. We clapped. They started trotting. We clapped and they moved faster yet.
Mr. Clown pretended to totter and weave as if his balance was precarious, and he was in danger of falling. But I could only marvel at the perfect control he had over his body and the beasts underneath him—still moving in perfect tandem even as they ran.
Patience and Trust
I have been to several rodeos and there is always something to wonder at in how man and beasts work together. But this was a treat.
I can’t imagine the time that was put in by both man and horses to achieve this flawless unity. How many carrot or apple bribes did it take to gain the trust of the beasts? How much soft talk and brushing of coats to make them comfortable? And then the grueling hours of practice that this must have taken.
Even as I watched, it occurred to me that this is what God does with us. His guiding hand on our reigns is firm, yet gentle. He nudges us one way, then another. His strength is boundless, yet He showed us humility in becoming one of us. His skillfulness in directing our lives never wavers.
When we make a wrong move, His patience and mercy redirect us until we learn to trust Him and work together to create grace, mercy and perfect harmony. As we watch one another, we marvel at what we see, just as the audience did for Mr. Clown and his Clydesdales last weekend.
More important, we gain eternal applause. Isn’t that the best?