My son Josh and I went to a Dad and Son camp recently. We went on a horse ride, went canoeing, did archery, and all kinds of other things. It wiped me out in the happiest way! On Sunday morning an old cowboy gave the devotional while he worked with a yearling horse as part of his ongoing efforts to train it to take a harness and become a working part of the camp. He started by bringing the horse into a small confined corral where the yearling had very little room to escape. As long as he wasn’t trying to do anything the horse was friendly, but as soon as he tried anything the horse started running around the corral, trying to escape. He had to lasso it, and then when it would resist he would increase the pressure, but when it came along he would release the pressure. Soon he was attempting to put on a harness. Again, the horse resisted strongly.
We are made as magnificent creatures in God’s image. Yet we are uncontrolled and little good for any useful task. Before we can be put into our true place, we must be confined and trained into comfort with submission. It is not from cruelty or capricious whim that God disciplines us and seeks to reign us in, but from love and toward a great purpose. Like the yearling we understand none of that, and resist every small directive. We can be assured that it is from grace and love that God trains us, and moves us towards our purpose in the body of Christ, and superintends our gift for much greater ends than we imagine.