For those of you who were at the first performance of the 2014 National High School Finals Rodeo...Did you see the wreck in the bull riding arena?
One of our pickup men had a bit of an issue with his horse while dragging a bull from the arena. He had the bull dallied off and the bull swung the rope around behind him and at the same time his horse began to have what we call "a come apart." Though the cowboy did come off his horse, thankfully, he was alright. He took a few moments to check his horse and do some quick tack repair and was back in business.
I've always had an appreciation for great pickup men and bullfighters. I mean, these are the men that stand in the gap and step in to save a cowboy when he's in trouble. Since starting the ministry at the National High School Finals Rodeo, I've gained an even greater appreciate for these men as you see them save dozens of young kids who get into trouble on a bull or bucking horse.
The truth is, both the pickup men and bullfighters are the greatest cowboys in the arena. The pickup men aren't team roping rejects who decide to pickup instead. These are men who have worked hard on ranches and some have rodeoed a ton themselves. But if you look back over the career of a great pickup man or bullfighter, for every great save they make, there's a handful of mistakes that have happened in the past. While tough at the time, those mistakes made them into the tough and amazing cowboys they are today!
In the trick riding arena, where I come from, we say that what sets a professional apart from an amateur trick rider is what you do when you get in trouble. Do you give up? Or do you press on through the trial?
James said in James 1:2-4, "My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything."
In my estimation, our faith isn't really doing much if it doesn't show up when we are tested. Trials stink at the time, but they build us into the tough man or woman the Lord wants us to be.
Of course I'm praying for a great day for each of you today. My encouragement, however, is no matter what happens in the arena, trust the Lord and learn from it. In the rodeo arena pushing through trials makes you "cowboy tough." In the arena of life, pushing through and trust the Lord in trials molds us into the man or woman of God that He knows we can be!