He's Riding Herd Over Me

I'm working on a fun book right now. It's set in the old west, during a cattle drive. When I started, I knew almost nothing about cattle drives, but now I can say I'm a bit more educated - and a lot more fascinated. Now, I'm not going to turn my Journal into a lecture about the old west. But during my prayer time this morning, something occurred to me that I thought you might find interesting too.

First, though, I need to tell you just a tiny bit about the jobs of cowboys on a cattle drive. Herds of 1500-3000 cattle were typically driven northward out of Texas, guided by ten or twelve cowboys. In my story, they started out around Houston and followed the Chisholm Trail up to Kansas. 3000 cows took up a lot of space, so the herd stretched out a mile or more as it walked. Each cowboy had a specific position, though they could switch off if needed. Leading the way was the trail boss, followed by the point riders. Now, the point riders had the task of making sure the lead cattle kept going in the direction they were supposed to. If a lead cow got spooked and charged off in another direction, the cattle would follow, and you'd have a chaotic stampede on your hands.

After the point riders came the swing and flank riders. They kept watch on the main body of the herd, and made sure they didn't get too spread out. At the end came the drag riders, who made sure no cows straggled, and kept things moving forward. You can imagine what it would be like to follow 3000 cows across the prairies for a couple of months. Drag rider was the least favorite position, but vitally important. Well, all of them were vitally important. Without each person doing his job, the herd would scatter and get lost, and never arrive at their destination.

Okay, so here comes the Biblical illustration. As I was studying the positions of the cowboys, I was reminded of a scripture passage.

You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful
for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139:1-6)

As I journey through life, I'm like that herd of cattle, and Jesus is the only cowboy who can handle all of those positions at once. I love verse 5: You hem me in behind and before. He's in front of me, leading the way. If I'm not following the Trail Boss I'll wander off in the wrong direction. Without Jesus acting as my point rider, I can get spooked and run scared, and chaos occurs. He watches my flanks to make sure I don't get spread too thin. And He's got my back to keep me moving forward. We're going to cross miles and miles together, and He makes sure I get to the destination on time. As verse 6 says: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Okay, maybe it's a random thought, and some of you might think it's a stretch. But that's the way my brain works. No matter what I'm working on, EVERYTHING comes back to Jesus.

Have a wonderful day, my friends. I'm stepping back into the Old West now.