A Long, Painful Ride

Written by: Dean Hulce

Ephesians 6:10-13 (a) ~ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…

 It’s been about five years ago now. It seemed like a great idea at the time. It was my birthday and I love exploring, so what could be better than a horseback ride into some back country? What could go wrong?

The beginning of our joy ride was beautiful. We wove our way through some beautiful stands of mature aspen as we climbed above camp. My horse (I don’t remember her name, but I came up with a few by the end of the day) knew exactly how close she could get to the big white tree trunks… just close enough to bruise and batter my knees. So, we broke out into a high open ridge where we could see for twenty miles right into northern New Mexico. It was worth a couple swollen knees.

Next we headed down into a beautiful valley of huge aspen and spruce. Small mountain trout darted ahead of us as our horses walked in and out of the valley stream. We were now about to enter a part of the ride I’ll never forget… We started climbing through rock slides and heavy spruce timber where there was no trail of any kind, other than an occasional elk trail that crossed the ever-narrowing valley. After an hour or two of busting brush, where I would occasionally lose my hat to a dead limb, as it tore open the skin of my forehead, we broke out into an amazing canyon below the 14,000-foot Culebra Peak.

After a picnic lunch and a short time of convincing me that I had no choice but to get on my horse and convincing my horse to allow me to ride again, we headed back down again. Part way through the heavy timber it came to me… I had been wondering why all the experienced riders we’re wearing long sleeve shirts and chaps… the bleeding rips in my uncovered skin and even through my jeans answered that question. It was a long ride back to camp.

Arriving back to camp, nine hours and twenty plus miles later, where Linda had to help pour me out of the saddle and half carry me into bed. I realized then that I would never ride a horse again… my arms and face we’re covered in dry blood, which at least protected some skin from sunburn. Perhaps the most painful thing for me was where the seam running down the middle of the back of my jeans hand completely worn the skin from around the end of my tailbone. I was ill prepared, and I paid for it for days to come…. Never, never, ever again!

Christians enter each day as I entered that day in the mountains, with good intentions and great expectations. But the stubborn horses of life will bruise us, and the sharp branches will tear at us. By the end of the day we’ll be worn out by the world at times. We’ll need others help to replenish our strength. The ride might be long and painful some days…. But as we get through it, we’re better prepared for the next ride.

If we’re living for Christ, there will be those that want to knock us off of our feet. Satan will use people to tear at us and attempt to hurt us. We will have to stop and refresh often as we get weary from the ride. Satan knows exactly how to attack us as to discourage or defeat us in our daily trek in this life. But God has given us a battle plan and map to get through day to day, our Bible. We need to stay in it and use it to defeat the attacks.

Be prepared to face whatever comes your way… and if you are standing for Christ in your life, the attacks will come. Watch for the next few posts, and I’ll explore the armor that God has given us to get through the attacks of this life.