In these last 5 months I have experienced more than most people do in life time. Long story short my marriage came to an end and I was spared from things that should’ve ended my life twice, my living situation fell through and I’ve experienced being homeless.
These trails, these near-death experiences have demonstrated one clear truth, as disciples and followers of Christ (not Christianity but Christ) we like the original 12 and countless other believers throughout history need to be in this for the long ride.
What is the Long Ride?
I am a professional rookie bull rider (yes, I am an actual living breathing cowboy), as in I am professional because I get paid to ride and I ride for money. Now if you know anything about bull riding or if you don’t, you need to understand that if you come off the bull before the buzzer goes off and you reach those 8 seconds, your ride does not count.
No winnings, no sponsors and in most cases injury. All of the risk and no reward, because you didn’t hold on tight enough.
This is the long ride. In my opinion it resembles our Christian walk. Sometimes we don’t hold on when it gets hard to hold on, and sometimes as a result we hit the ground hard and often are to beaten down to get back up.
Why do we need to be in it for the long ride?
For myself there are two main reasons that I am in it for the long ride. First is because Christ commands all followers/disciples to run this race to the finish and to run it well. There isn’t much point in running a race if you’re not going to commit fully to it, or persevere when it starts to get a little tough.
Secondly, is because I long to hear those words “well done good and faithful servant” and not “depart from me, I never knew you.”
Being in this for the long ride, when it’s hard to hold on separates those who say they heard the good news but it fell on that rocky ground and didn’t grow. This is compared to other side where the good news seed fell into good soil.
But how do we hold on/ what needs to happen when we lose our grip?
There’s been so many times where I ask myself, how do I hold on when it gets so hard to hold on. Now the answer is pretty simple, we as humans tend to overcomplicate and over think every little thing. Just hold onto Jesus tighter, be faithful, because He is always faithful.
Pray, even when you don’t feel like praying. Seek Him and you will find Him. He literally promised that. Our tiny human brains tend to go down that rabbit hole and think did He really say that? And that’s when the enemy comes along and has a field day – he starts to play on that doubt.
When getting knocked down or we lose our grip, there’s a real simple thing I’ve come to live by. As someone who should’ve died in what should’ve been a fatal car accident and on one other occasion, this has helped me plenty. It’s a phrase used by all the old cowboys – “Cowboy Up”.
Simply it means get off the ground dust yourself off, wait till the ringing in your head stops and get back up and go again. God is good and He is forgiving.
His grace is new every day, it’s not as if you run out or have a set amount. I am living proof of that. When my car literally spun out of control at 100 kilometres an hour, my car was rolling, roof caving in and windscreen shattering. He literally spared my life.
We don’t realise it by each day is a new chance, a new day to live life, why? Because we wake up and because God is merciful.
Ash lives in Kingaroy, Queensland. It’s here he works as a farm hand, bull rides and finishing his degree in teaching. Ash is a former young writer and has returned to the team.