This past week I spent most of my days leading trail rides for 8-10 year old children. Some were scared, some were excited, some didn’t want to be around the horses, some were physically shaking with excitement every time they saw a horse, and some were suddenly and surprisingly allergic to horses. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past four years of working with horses and kids is that you never really know what to expect. Sometimes the kids are wild with energy, racing around like feral cats as you try to tell them how to ride a horse. Other times they’re quiet as a mouse, and you can’t even get them to tell you their name or how they’re feeling about their horse. Each day and each child is a whole new adventure, and if you try to use the same game plan every time you’re going to lose 80% of the time, because being flexible is paramount when it comes to horses and kids.
I’m pretty used to hearing all kinds of strange and hilarious things while on a trail ride, but there was one conversation I had with a boy this past week that struck a cord in me. I had just asked him if he had ever ridden at camp before, and he said that this was his first time riding at camp but had ridden a horse before. So I asked him where he had ridden a horse before, and he replied, “Well, I ride with God. Sometimes we start with 16 minutes and then end with 200 minutes, but we ride like three times a week.” Naturally, I was a little confused as to whether he was referring to actually riding with God, or if the horse he had ridden was named after the divine. Of course, I asked for clarification, and being an eight year old boy, none came. So I finished off the ride a little confused but mostly happy because everyone seemed to have had lots of fun.
It wasn’t until later in the day that I started thinking about the phrase that boy had used, “I ride with God.” When you first hear it, it sounds pretty strange, but the longer I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. Our God is a very personal one; he wants to have a relationship with us and to be a part of every aspect of our lives. We might try to leave God at the church doors, waving good-bye and promising to return next week; but the problem with that is that he follows us. God doesn’t stay in just one spot, and we can’t just lock him in a box. If our Lord wanted a relationship with us so badly that he was tortured and killed for us, why would we ever think that he could be held within our feeble restraints? And why would we want to keep him there anyway? Why are we so afraid of inviting Jesus into our everyday lives? He’s not scared of getting dirty, and he’s not scared of doing life in the trenches.
This world was created with us in mind, and the most vibrant display of appreciation that we can give to God is to walk through every moment of our lives with him. Whether that’s cleaning, writing, running, cooking, fishing, climbing, riding horses, or whatever it is that fills your days; God wants to be a part of it. I love to ride through the forest and take in the beauty all around me, and these moments are made even sweeter when I’m doing it with my Saviour. We do not have an impersonal God, not by a long shot. We have a Lord that is seeking a profoundly intimate relationship with us, one that encompasses our whole lives. I encourage you to open your heart up and invite God to ride through life with you, the things you’ll see and experience will change your whole world.