Trust comes naturally to small children, but we adults have been burned enough to know better. When we got some horses I took my youngest daughter, Arianna, down to the pen to show her the white horse, Buckey. As we approached, Buckey put his head over the fence in anticipation of our attention. I didn’t know this horse and so planned to stay on our side of the fence for now. Arianna was sitting cradled in my arm. When we got to Buckey my attention was on him to see how he would react to my baby. I was stunned by what happened next. Arianna with a gleeful sound practically leapt out of my arm and on to Buckey’s long face, hugging his head and laughing. In my mind, knowing how a horse will toss his head, I imagined Arianna being flung high and far by this powerful white horse. As fast as I could move I grabbed her and realized that Buckey was just standing there stock still. This gentle giant knew this was but a child and had allowed her to lunge at him and hang on his head. As my heart started beating again I realized what a gem we had in this horse.
Buckey was with us for years, a trusted companion for our children. One day we came home to find him laying on the ground near the barn where he had slipped and fallen. A broken hip meant he would never rise again. When I came out with the shotgun he made a valiant effort to rise: he knew what the shotgun was. But he just couldn’t do it. I told him that this was all I could do for him, to stop the pain. Buckey stopped struggling, looked at me with resignation and trust in his eyes, and laid his head down for me to do what must be done. The shot was carefully and lovingly made. Buckey was gone in an instant. He will always be remembered as a special and trustworthy animal.
When my first child, Erin, was just a little baby I would hold her in both hands and raise her up and let her down. This motion caused her little eyes to widen. The sensation was new and uncomfortable, but as she stared into my smiling eyes she relaxed trusting that I would keep her safe. Soon I was letting go for just a second at the highest point. Before long I could toss her a good height over my head catching her on the way back down. As she got used to this she realized it was fun, since Dad was always there to catch her. The higher I tossed her the more she laughed. Soon I was throwing my little baby as high as I could, laughing with her. Since I couldn’t do this in the house, I did it on the front lawn. This was probably a bad idea, as it was scaring the little old ladies on our street half to death.
Now I don’t recommend any father out there to do this. I’m not saying it was anything but foolishness. I think, however, that it is an excellent example of what God sometimes does with us. He puts us in a position where we are not only helpless, but we will be destroyed if He doesn’t come through and catch us. Call it trust building exercises. I am only a man. I could neither throw Erin higher or catch her coming down any faster. God may throw you so high that you may believe He cannot possibly catch you. But He is God: He can always catch you, and will always be there if we but trust Him.