When I was about nine years old, I happened to run across a book by Walter Farley called “The Black Stallion” in my elementary school library. Up until that point I hadn’t had much of an interest in reading. But that book grabbed my attention like no other book had until that point and I found myself caught up in the adventures of the boy named Alec (around which the story centered). The book, not quite like the movie of the same name, triggered a love for reading in me that abides with me still, but also ignited a love for horses that remained with me throughout my entire childhood and still stirs a thrill in me whenever I have a rare opportunity to ride or simply be near horses.
Perhaps part of the magic that the story wrought upon me had something to do with the main character’s dramatic adventures in being lost at sea and then overcoming the odds against his survival by learning to thrive upon the meager resources that his small deserted island afforded him. But the real thrill for me was found in his awe of the magnificent Black Stallion (also stranded on the island), Alec’s passion for connecting with the mighty horse, and his victory as the great beast began to trust him and allowed him to ride upon its back.
The story may also have prepared my heart for a significant truth that all too often escapes people today as they struggle with the heavy duties of juggling a plethora of worries and temptations. What is that truth? Simply that we were created for more than mere survival here on planet earth. We were made for knowing God and riding His will for our lives just as Alec was intended to be more than a diminutive Robinson Crusoe. No, as Walter Farley’s pen scribed for us the tale of “The Black Stallion,” we might see that the island was in fact a necessary ingredient for the wonderful turn that the young boy’s life would take.
As I recall that story, it occurs to me that we would do well to reflect on the eternal nature of our lives. We would do even better to realize that if we remain focused just on this little “desert island” that we call life, we will miss the fact that this is our grand and glorious opportunity to establish an eternal connection with God. Just as Alec in The Black Stallion recognizes that the island is his opportunity to become more, have more, love more and to be loved more, we also must recognize that life is our opportunity to become more, have more, love more and to know love in return.
The Bible, God’s Word, tells us a much greater story than the one I found on the bookshelf of an elementary school over thirty years ago. It paints for us in vivid colors the true story of how God’s plan for the world is unfolding and how His amazing love is still triumphing, in spite of the inclination of humanity to turn its back to Him again and again.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4 ESV).
Many people linger and wallow in the muck of worry and despair as they strive to live in their own power and so every day is a misery to them. Many others choose to abide in the delusion that they can “put off” dealing with their own eternal needs or the needs of their loved ones until a convenient occasion to face them. Some almost have the attitude that if they fill their schedules (and their minds) with preoccupations that keep thoughts of their souls’ need for salvation at bay, then somehow they’ll never have to deal with their need for God’s forgiveness and the soul-saving power of faith in Jesus Christ!
In such cases, it’s like having an awesome stallion within our reach, fully capable of carrying us on the wings of the wind, but our eyes are focused elsewhere. When we finally “get off the island” as death closes our eyes, we go without ever knowing the love and power we might have known and never have the benefit of being made ready for the eternal life that awaits us.
Let it not be so with you and me! The Bible tells us of how God so loved us that He gave His one and only Son in our place upon the cruel cross of Calvary (see John 3:16)! It tells us that we obtain the benefit of His sacrifice by placing our faith (our full confidence) in Jesus life, death and resurrection (see Romans 10:9-10)! It tells us that as we repent of our sinful waywardness and past rejection of God, if we accept His gift of eternal life through His Son, we are not only fully forgiven, but are made heirs of God and the recipients of His own divine power!
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV).
Is there a “Black Stallion” awaiting you? Certainly! Are you willing to risk leaving your “comfort zone” to climb on board God’s will for your life? Will you forsake the “luxury of worry and fear” by trusting God’s Son to save you? Are you ready to let go of control of your life so that you can “ride the wind” and feel the thrill of walking with God? I hope so. One day it will be your turn to “leave the island” and I pray that you will be ready.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13 ESV).
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 22 years. He is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected]