Fences, Horses & Peppermints

My family recently moved into a new neighborhood. We now live at the end of a cul-de-sac which butts up to a horse pen. Inside the horse pen are six beautiful horses. I talked to their owner and she shared with me that all of her horses are rescued animals. The magnificent creatures all used to be show horses or race horses. The previous owners of the horses lost interest in these animals because they could no longer perform at a high level. So...she takes them, cares for them and uses them to teach people how to ride.They are truly beautiful creatures and I must admit that I enjoy seeing them each day as I leave and come home. 

Their owner told me that I could stand at the fence, call out to them and give them treats. She said they love peppermints. On several occasions I have loaded my pockets with mints, stood at the fence and called out to the horses. Honestly, I haven't had much success in getting them to come to me. I know they hear me calling because they all stand there and look at me. But for some reason, they will not come to me. Maybe it's because they don't know me. Maybe it's because they were hurt by another human. Maybe it's because I'm not using a call they understand. I don't know. All I know is that if they came to me I would be good to them. I would give them the mints they enjoy.

One day while going through my routine of trying to get the horses to come to me it dawned on me...I wonder if this is how God feels when He calls out to humanity. He stands at the fence (which represents our circumstances) and calls out to us. We hear Him calling, but maybe we don't understand the call or His intentions. Maybe we've been disappointed or hurt in the past and we are a little shy about the whole "walk by faith" thing. So, we stand there and look dumb founded. Settling to eat hay when we could have a sweet mint. Satisfied to stand alone when we could have Someone touch us gently and speak kind words to us.

I don't know for sure, but I think the reason the horses will not come to me is because they are not sure I will be kind to them. They just don't know and they are afraid to trust. Funny, but I think that is one of the primary problems we have when God calls out to us. Will He really be kind to me? Can I really trust Him? 

I must admit I am a fair weather horse caller. If it's cold outside or raining, I don't stand at the fence and call for the horses. I know God's not like that. He lovingly and patiently stands on the edges of our circumstances and calls out to us--rain or shine. Why does He do that? I know I stand at the fence and call to the horses because I want to be kind to them, but God calls for a much deeper and significant reason. The Bible says, "Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" (Romans 2:4, NLT)

I call out to the horses so I can give them a mint. God calls out to us so He can remove our guilt and shame. He is kind not to give us a fleeting treat, but to give us lasting freedom from our sin (the things we do that hurt Him and the people around us). Don't be afraid of the kindness of God. It sounds strange that I would even have to say that, but I think we can be like those horses.