Our family farm in Ohio has been in our family for over 200 years. I grew up on it. My friend Sonny and I explored every inch of it. And when he and I were not together, I was adventuring through the 100 acres and making up my own stories from Daniel Boone to Roy Rogers to Paul Revere to Wyatt Earp to Sergeant York and everyone in between. I knew that farm like the back of my hand as they say. In the summer time, I often hunted down the horses to pick one to ride. They had their favorite places where they would pair up and stand head to tail, swatting the deer flies off each others faces in the shade of a hot summer’s day. I knew their favorite hangouts and could find them whenever I wanted.
This one particular day, my future wife Chris, was coming over to ride. I was home from college and we had been writing back and forth. She had used my champion Quarter Horse, Wimpy, in 4-H, and being a year out of high school and in college herself, she hadn’t seen Wimpy or ridden in a while. It was a chance for us to catch up as we were extremely good friends, but had not yet moved out of the so-called “friend zone.” It was my fault, I know. I was a gangly geek with an athletic bent, edgy and intense, covering my insecurities with poor puns and silly jokes. I was confident and comfortable as a cowboy. A gentleman at heart. And I didn’t want to do anything that would cause her to not like me, but in that, though I knew I loved her, we were not yet an “item.”
She arrived looking as beautiful as ever in a pair of jeans and tee shirt. We hugged and I asked if she was ready to go find the horses and take a ride. I don’t really know why I didn’t have Wimpy and Bert already in the barn. They were out in the pasture. Shouldn’t be a problem, we will just go track them down and jump on bareback and ride them back to the barn and saddle up for a longer ride. Well, simple as that was, it wasn’t to be. We walked and walked. We talked and talked. We went from horse hangout to horse hangout. We held hands. We laughed. We shared dreams. We wandered all over that farm looking for those horses. We had about 20 horses and they herded together. I couldn’t find them to save my life.
We wandered about two hours from one end of the farm to the other. Never found them. They disappeared. No horses in sight. Chris actually thought I was leading her around the farm and guiding her away from the horses so I could have her all to myself. We laugh about that day now. Giving up, we went back to the house where my mother had iced tea and embarrassed me with a tour of family picture albums that Chris graciously endured. Funny thing is after she went home, I went back out looking for the horses. Found them right away. In Isaiah 55:8 the Lord says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways.” Yes, the Lord works in mysterious ways. It was quite the mystery that the horses were missing, until later they were found. But Chris and I had precious time that turned into a lifetime.