I’ll never forget Buck. He was a very fat, very fast, very old Buckskin horse that the girl I used to date in high school owned and rode. Although I was a city boy she taught me to ride him. Unlike the real cowboys she knew and rode with, I wore Converse high tops, not cowboy boots. I chewed gum, not chew. I was from North Denver not the South forty.
But, once I got the hang of it, I used to love to ride…especially Buck. Because he was so fat it was easier for me to stay on him (I mostly rode bareback) and because he was so fast he was a blast to ride. I’d grab his mane with one hand, hold tight to the reigns with the other and ride like the wind.
For date money my girlfriend used to take me to small, local rodeos called “Gymkhanas.” There’d be barrel racing, flag racing and a sled drag (where the female riders would drag the male riders on a sled across the dung-meets-dirt floor arena) all for $5, $10, $20 cash prizes. We usually won enough to cover dinner and a movie.
My favorite race was the rescue race. Female riders would be at one end of the arena and the males being “rescued” would be at the other side. When the race started the girls would race their horses down to the guys and circle around them. While they were circling we had to grab the horn on the saddle and leap up on the back of the horse as it circled and then hang on for dear life. First one to cross the finish line with both riders wins.
I used to love watching that fat horse kicking up the dirt on the other side of arena. The younger, faster looking horses that lined both sides of Buck seemed like they would smoke him. Other riders and rescuees would often laugh at the big, fat, old Buckskin they knew would be left in the dust by the younger, faster looking horses. But I was laughing for a whole different reason…I knew Buck would blow those other horses away.
And he did every time.
One day when my girlfriend was getting Buck out to ride him he walked straight into my car. She suddenly realized that Buck had gone blind. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen, watching this girl break down in tears realizing that her prized Buckskin horse would have to be put down.
After consulting with the vet she told me that Buck had probably been going blind for months. He was either completely blind or mostly blind during the Gymkhanas we raced in and during the rides that we went on. For months this uniquely gifted horse was riding and racing purely on instinct and absolute trust in the rider.
How we need that in our service to Jesus! He guides us with the harness of his love during the sunny days. He leads us to green pastures when the light is bright and the sun is shining. But when things get dark and we can’t see the road ahead, when our spiritual eyes dim and we can’t view the pathway that lies before us, we must trust the Rider.
The One who rides us in the light will guide us in the dark. We must be sensitive to His every move in our lives and nuance of His Spirit. As we do He can be assured that, someday, He will take us across the finish line to victory.
Blind faith is not blind at all when we learn to trust in the One who truly sees.