There are many steps in the life of a horse before
he earns the title, "Rodeo Ready". He starts out being trained up to the
point where he can go to jackpots and exhibitions. STEP UP He gets his
first look at cars parked around, horses tied to trailers whirling and
nickering, new arenas, P.A. systems, and strange horses being ridden around by
riders. He gets to stay in this stage until he becomes comfortable and works
through all his fears.
STEP UP After he gets used to all those new
surroundings and gets to a certain age, he goes on to futurities. At the
futurities, he will see more activity than he saw at the local exhibition
jackpots. Now he is being asked for more effort and starts running for the
money. The ground is manicured to perfection at the futurities. It is
maintained throughout the race by tractors dragging every few runners. There
are exhibitions before the race to acquaint him to the arena and the ground.
There are stalls set up for him to sleep in at night. He travels to one show
and stays there until it is over. Everything is available to give each horse
an equal chance.
STEP UP The next stage in his life when he passes
the futurity and derby age can be to start down the rodeo trail. Now he is
introduced to contract acts that make all kinds of sounds, fairs where other
animals are present, bands playing, flags, banners, outdoor arenas and indoor
coliseums with huge crowds, fireworks, carnivals, Farris wheels, etc. To be
ready to win, he not only has to go through the fears of these strange things,
but he has to be talented and fast enough to clock fast turns and times while
these distracting and stressful things surround him. He will have to run on
many different types of ground and sometimes there is no tractor drag to keep
the ground equal. He may spend nights learning to rest while standing tied to
a trailer when there are no stalls available and he may spend the night in
the trailer traveling to the next rodeo. When he is truly "Rodeo Ready", he
has learned to be both brave and trusting. Nothing distracts him from his
job. A "Rodeo Ready" horse has great value. It takes lots of time, training
and experience before he gets to this point.
We Americans have been in the futurity stage for a
long time. Things around us have been easy and comfortable. We have not
known what it is like to fear something new or dread what may happen next. It
was stated on the news this morning that 7 out of 10 Americans went into
depression this week. We are confronted with situations that we have never
faced. We are faced with a decision. Will we step up or step back? Life as
we knew it is being threatened. The only way to become stronger is to work
through our fears and uncertainty. We can do this by keeping on with what we
do. Jesus gave us the instructions to "occupy until I come". This was given
in the parable of the Ten Pounds. (Matt. 25:14 and Luke 19:11) This means
that we are to buy and sell and continue in what we do until He comes for us.
Another exhortation to each of us is found in Joshua 1:9 Have I not
commanded you? Be strong, and be brave, be not afraid, neither be dismayed;
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
We have two heritages to uphold. Many have fought
for the freedom that we have enjoyed. That's our national heritage. Jesus
Christ gave His life to overcome death and evil. He gave that heritage to all
who bear the name Christian. That is what America was founded upon. Be
brave! Strengthen one another and march on strong in the days ahead.
Oh say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave
o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?