Growing up, my sister rode a grey Tennessee Walking Horse named, Traveler. An atypical member of his breed, Traveler had an awkward gait, was abnormally skittish, and just downright stupid. Because Traveler did not live up to his name, he was called Scooter. People used to stay of Scooter, “The lights are on in his brain, but nobody’s home.”
One summer day, my two sisters and I decided to tackle a newly discovered mountain trail. For some, unapparent reason, Scooter didn’t feel like participating in our adventure. He looked for every excuse to turn around and head back to the barn. We weren’t 100 yards from the barn when someone started walking toward us. Scooter acted like he’d never seen the guy before, which was ridiculous because he had ridden Scooter dozens of times and even feed the goofy horse breakfast every day for a year. After a brief run-in, my sister tactfully urged Scooter onward, and for 20 minutes, Scooter agreed to yield to her wishes. It wasn’t’ until we came to a heavily forested area a mile away from the barn that Scooter decided he’d had enough. An approaching pedestrian and two dogs provided the perfect excuse: Scooter went ballistic. He shied and wheeled around toward home. My sister hastily jumped to the ground and tried to convince Scooter that the dogs and owner were harmless. Even my normally spooky, Arabian mare set a good example by walking quietly past the dogs, yet Scooter remained unconvinced; he shuttered like a windstorm.
Sometimes I behave just like Scooter. I come up with more excuses for God, than Scooter could find to get out of going on a trail ride. My excuses range from, “I have too much homework and can’t make it to church” to “so-and-so didn’t treat me kindly so I don’t have to be that person’s friend anymore.” I could go on, but I think you get what I’m saying. Like Scooter, excuses are my way of saying, “God, I know what is best for me, so if you wouldn’t mind stepping aside so that I can get on with my agenda that would be much appreciated!” The question is, do I really know what is best for me? What would be the benefit of dropping my excuses and yielding to God? Despite his stupidity, Scooter’s excuses set a good example for me.
After Scooter’s first scare, my sister turned him around and let him get used to the fact that dogs were really dogs and not monsters. Then my sister led Scooter closer and closer to the dogs. He snorted and protested, but by this time he was willing to submit. Finally, my sister hopped back on Scooter and nudged him past the dogs. I am happy to say that Scooter was fine the remainder of our trail ride and actually enjoyed getting out and meeting the challenges of the trail. If Scooter had turned around and yielded to my sister when he first saw the dogs, he would have missed out on a fantastic adventure.
Like Scooter, I can drop my excuses and yield to God in order to get in on His agenda—one that is much better than my own. Like Scooter, it can be scary to yield to God, especially when the things that God asks us to do are un-fun. God is a good friend, however, and He knows our fears. He’ll never ask us to do something that we are incapable of doing. I love how The Message sums it up: “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” 1 Corinthians 10:13.