April 2007
Horses, Horses, Horses!

Horses, Horses, Horses!

Inspiration........a word meaning to be inspired. For the month of April I have been inspired by a little girl’s email to write about something that most people would not touch with a ten-foot pole. This child had to have a beloved foal put down due to birth defects, but she was very brave about the vet putting her horse down because of her tremendous child-like faith that God Almighty would take care of her foal named "Stormy."

She asked me to write about this so that other children who have lost horses or pets would not hurt so much. I do not plan to go into a whole theological dissertation. You see, I am a horse person who has been to Seminary, so I could do that; but instead I will speak from the heart.

The biggest thing I learned in Seminary, I wrote down on a piece of notebook paper in a philosophy class full of about one hundred young, male theologians debating like crazy........I wrote, "The Simplicity of God Escapes Man." These words were not spoken in that classroom. The words just came to me as I looked and listened in amazement at all the fuss being made over this point of view or that point of view. The reason I mention this is to let you know that I have been educated to discuss the type of topic that has been requested of me, and that I strongly believe children have a much better concept of the simplicity and power of God.

Adults have a tendency to over-analyze things. Even the Word of God says that you must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of God. God in His infinite wisdom knows that adults can make things too complicated if allowed to do so, but the sweet, tender trust of a child which is simple, straightforward and good is what is required of us by God. This child’s concept of God’s power and His love for all His creation (even a foal put down due to birth defects), has touched me to answer her.

Here is an excerpt from Cheyenne’s email that will give you an idea of what she is asking me to write about:

"That is why I did not cry, because I knew Stormy was at Rainbow Bridge. God would take care of him now better than anyone else could have ever done. Surgery would have left the foal in pain, but God made me confident that in Heaven the foal would be much happier. I know that when I pass, when my cousin passes also, that we will join Stormy at the big pasture in the sky where he will be grown and we can ride him, where he will be in no pain and he will be all right. Not a day goes by he doesn’t cross my mind, and I hold back the tears. But like I have said, he is at Rainbow Bridge now waiting to meet me halfway when I die, so we can cross together and be young and healthy. All kids should understand that when a pet passes, especially a horse, they are in a better place without hurt or suffering, and that eventually they will meet their pets again in Heaven where God will take care of them all.

Thank you for hearing my story, and I hope you will educate everyone that it is ok to lose a pet, because God is in control and he is making the pet the happiest it could ever be, and one day he will take care of us too."

With Much Love,
    Cheyenne Givens

Cheyenne’s request brings to mind a conversation I had with some friends and a cousin of mine a little over a year ago. Dr. Jason Coe (a vet and cousin) and I were sitting at the kitchen table of Jackie and Marvin Wade (friends who own Wade's Horse Farm). We were sitting there discussing horses of course, but the conversation kept turning to theology. We wondered what Heaven must be like. We all knew it has to be a wonderful place, but wouldn’t it be even better if horses were there, too. Each person at that kitchen table had a slightly different opinion about what Heaven would be like, but we all agreed that because God is in charge, it would be a wonderful place no matter what.

I personally could not imagine Heaven without green pastures to lie in, babbling brooks gurgling in your ear, bees buzzing, butterflies floating, and crickets singing. I also could not imagine Heaven without horses running through the pastures and dogs barking and jumping at the floating butterflies. God made this earth a good place originally. It seems to me that Heaven would therefore be a place of even more of the good God originally intended for us.

I shared with my friends that day what I am about to share with you now. It is a heart thing, and can only be understood by those listening with their hearts; but then, that is the way God listens to us, with His Great Big Heart. I shared how, after my Papa, John Edd Bryant, had passed away, I was devastated. He was my favorite person on this earth, and after he was gone I desperately needed to know that he was alright. I prayed hard that God would somehow show me that my Papa was indeed alright. God in His mercy answered my request.

My Papa was a big time horse person also, and we had spent many, many hours riding together. In answer to my desperate need, God sent me the most vivid, realistic dream or vision of my Papa. He was smiling from ear to ear at seeing me, and he sat on his favorite mount (a horse named Handy who had long been dead). He was waiting at my favorite place on the farm, and he had the reins of an extra saddled horse in his hand. The horse was Tobby, my favorite mount from Handy’s off-spring. Tobby had died years ago also. My Papa and the horses were young and healthy and strong. I recognized the saddles and bridles. I recognized everything, only now it was all "new." My Papa was my Papa, only now he was young and strong and alive; the same with the horses. It is as though everything was real, only "more real" than they had ever been while alive on this earth as we know it. It was amazing and I was so overjoyed to see Papa and those horses. He let me know that he was waiting on me, and that is why he had Tobby saddled up for me to see. He let me know that he was fine, and that he still watched over me. I awoke with such joy and peace that morning that my prayer had been answered and that my Papa was better than alright!

Yet it had answered some other questions for me also. That was definitely Handy and Tobby with Papa. I know that man is made in God’s image and that God’s plan for man’s eternal salvation is very special, but I had always hoped that God in His infinite mercy would make some kind of provision for all His creation. I do not know exactly what kind of provision he has made for the animals, but I do know He has provided for them somehow, because I knew those mares with my Papa. They were our beloved horses that had passed on and now that Papa had passed, they were with him. It was indescribably wonderful.

God says in Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to Me and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know." God answered me when I desperately needed to know about my Papa. That was several years ago now, but the peace that settled over me then concerning Papa is still with me. I know he waits for me and watches over me. I also know that God is "BIG," bigger than we can possibly imagine, and He has made some type of provision for our animals, otherwise I would not have seen Handy and Tobby alive and well and strong with my Papa.

So there you have it. Yes, Cheyenne, I do believe God Almighty has made provision for the animals that He created. I know that it is not the same as the plan He has set forth for mankind, because we are indeed made in His image and different from the rest of His creatures, but He loves them too, otherwise He would not have made them. This is no theological exposition, it comes from my heart and my knowledge of God, and how "BIG and WONDERFUL" His heart is and the fullness thereof.

I know that there are those who will say that this is not theologically correct, but to those people who lack the heart to hear, I say that the Word of God says that "The Lord of Lords and King of Kings rides a White Horse."

Janet Bryant is a freelance writer from Oneonta.