When I was a teenager I had a hobby that doubled as a little side income. I would purchase young or untrained horses, train them and resell them. To this day I marvel that I’m alive after some of the stupid stunts I pulled with those horses. My guardian angels must have been exhausted by the end of every summer. But those summers proved to be some of the best summers of my life!
To me, there was nothing more exciting to me than buying a new horse. I loved wandering through compete stranger’s barns and pastures, petting the velvety noses, scratching behind ears and daydreaming about how I could coach any of these horses to be the perfect western pleasure mount. While other girls my age daydreamed about boys and went shopping for clothes every spring, I dreamed of horses, and shopped for bloodlines!
One year I had just picked out my next prospect, A beautiful black Arabian gelding, he was incredibly good looking, had an impressive pedigree, and most importantly in my teenage mind he had a long mane and tail. Excitedly I helped my father hook up the stock trailer and embarked on the task of bringing him home.
Our yard at the time was perfect for owning horses. We have a beautiful, luscious forty acre pasture. It has at least five ponds, beautiful shady oak trees, and in three generations no one in our family has ever grazed it down. To me this pasture was a magical place. There was nothing more relaxing than a long walk in in the pasture when the sun was setting, and the leaves were turning gold. The smell of autumn, the leaves crunching beneath my feet, and a herd of six horses following me wherever I went begging for treats made it one of the best places in the world. The horses loved their home too, every spring when theywhere turned loose in the pasture for the first time they would run, buck, rear, and kick up their heels over the sheer joy of their new freedom.
Sadly our horse trailer was not anything like our pasture. Far from being magical, or even scenic, it can only be described a decrepit thirty year old, primarily rust colored rolling junkyard. Although it was still sturdy enough to be safe, it most certainly is not pretty. To a horse who had never been in any trailers before, this certainly did not look like a comfortable, happy, or even safe place. Suffice to say, it took three people, an hour, a bucket of grain and a lot of coaxing to get my newest acquisition into our rust bucket of a horse trailer.
To my new horse, that trailer was the ultimate destination. He couldn't see past all of the metal and rust to our pasture. He was not thinking about 40 acres of luscious green grass, shady oak trees, or pleasant ponds, all he saw was a cold, rusty, metal horse eating machine.
In a way it reminds me of how we humans view death. The 23 Psalm speaks of “walking through the valley of the shadow of death.” Did you catch that? It’s just a shadow! Like our stock trailer, death appears to be a cold, ugly, dark place. But in reality, it is just a means of moving from one place to another. Death is not the final destination, and we have an advantage over that horse, he didn't know where he was going, he had no way of knowing what lay before him, but we can. God has promised us greener pastures filled with things more beautiful than we could ever imagine. He’s never lied to us yet, so why are you afraid of the trailer?