"Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."
Jesus (Matthew 11:28)
My wife and son are horseback riders. They've recently been watching a DVD by a horse trainer named Clinton Anderson. In one of the beginning exercises, Anderson stands by the horse he's training and begins to throw the long lead line over the horses back. This (like almost everything) startles the horse a bit. Anderson pulls the lead back and throws it again...and again. He throws the lead around the horses legs. As the horse moves away from him, Anderson follows it. As the horse might move towards him, he puts his hand in the horse's face and wards him away. Anderson keeps at this until (to me, amazingly) the horse stands calm and un-flustered by the lead line being thrown over his back, around his neck around his legs. When Clinton Anderson is training a horse in this manner, he makes the horse look at him. He doesn't allow the horse to "disrespect" him by looking away while he's training the horse. Throughout the training, Anderson is gaining the horse's respect, through the knowledge that no harm will come to him while his trainer is around.
After watching, my wife and I were talking about the demonstration. She said "It makes sense. If you're going to take a horse out on the trail, he should be bombproof."
By "bombproof," my wife meant unshakable, doesn't react when unexpected things arise, steady, stable, trustworthy, strong. You get the idea?
I'm interested in all of this because I think it has a corollary in my spiritual life. How many times have you heard someone (even a pastor) say, "Don't pray for patience because you'll just be asking for trouble..." I'm getting to the point where I think maybe we should be praying and expecting to be tested.
Sometimes I feel like God might be throwing a lead line all over me. Testing me. Trying to get me to be "bombproof." It's when I realize that He's doing it for my own good, that no harm can come to me while He's near, that I can calm down and be like Christ to those around me. Strong, stable and trustworthy when other's are weary and heavy-laden.