We live in the country.
We have 4 dogs, 2 cats, and our neighbors are cows.
I mean that in the nicest of ways. We live partially surrounded by a large dairy farm that features black and white, polka-dotted, classic cows.
Here in our quiet county, there are no leash laws (I think). Somehow, dogs know their boundaries--this fence line, that dirt road, this dry creek bed...they stay, play, and live well within the safety of our few acres.
Except when our other neighbor's horses come near. Then, our pups wander. Not far mind you, but they cross under the wire and bark and chase and run around...and one of these days they are going to get the wind kicked out of them...
Chasing horses. Our dogs just can't seem to resist wandering when horses come into view.
As a Atheist, I (obviously) didn't grow up with fond memories of singing hymns. But of late, I've been acquainting myself with a collection from an older book by Jerry Jenkins. Alongside of some of the hymns, Jenkins comments on the author. Today I read "Come, Thou Fount" by Robert Robinson.
The lyrics are stirring:
Prone to wander...God, I feel it.
Jenkins notes that Robinson committed his life to Jesus from a "life of sin." He wrote the hymn, entered the ministry, was a preacher...and then "lapsed into sin again."(page 78)
Online I learned that Robinson wrote Come, Thou Fount at the age of 23, later become known as a respected thinker, and toward the end of his life, several sources cite the following story:
Robinson seems to have mourned what he lost through his wanderings. From what little I could find, the horses he chased were theological.
Which brings me back home.
My dogs can't seem to resist wandering when the horses come by. But we can.
I'm not trying to be mystical, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to mentor our minds.
I love thinking, processing...like most, I enjoy wrestling with issues and thorny theological subjects...But sometimes I bump up against a fence post and I sense the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit saying, "let it rest now. For the moment, no farther." And I have a choice to make.
Will I press past that invisible barrier in the name of intellectual integrity simply because I can? Or will I pause, and trust the mentoring of the Spirit whose entire purpose is to lead me in truth?
Sometimes--especially in academic environments where it can sometimes seem as though if you CAN think about an issue, then you MUST think about an issue--I have pressed past that whisper and entered territory that God knew well but I was unprepared to navigate.
Age has, hopefully, brought wisdom and the realization that mental strength is more than the ability to think, it's also the ability to choose what to think and when to think.
Horses we want to chase today, may be easily ridden in years to come. When we ride them prematurely, odds are we're going to get the wind kicked out of us.