Just like most humans, my horse, Sundance, didn’t like shots. She got real nervous when she spied that little syringe. Even though she might be tied to a post, she had no intention of standing still and letting me or anyone else stick that needle in her rump. Often a neighbor helped me ‘ear her down’ while I applied the shot.
To ear down a horse, you use pressure to pull its ears straight down. If she tries to pull her head up, it hurts, so she stands still to avoid the pain. That’s the time to apply the needle. She’s so focused on what’s happening at one end, she forgets to bother with the other. Some owners clinch a tip of the ear in their teeth—that really gets their attention. Others twitch or twist the tongue, all for the same purpose: keep the horse’s mind occupied while doing the dreaded task for their own good.
Satan does something similar. He likes to get us all het up over one thing, while he slips in by another route and gives us a kick or two. The Bible says his purpose is “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). But the evil one’s way too smart to show up at the front door and announce that fact. The big, bad wolf of nursery rhyme fame huffs and puffs with direct threats. But not old ugly. He’ll get us stewing about how unfair life is, whose done us wrong, tie us up with financial worries, then attack our health, our marriage, or our friendships. Or vice-versa. Sometimes we get so caught up with a single negative issue that we neglect the very spiritual disciplines that can focus us to do something positive or to think creative and constructive.
God can ear us down too, to get our attention, to apply holy serum into our sin-sick lives. . .if we let him. “God disciples us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). The trick is to pay attention to your ‘ear down’ moments and learn to recognize the difference between the dastardly diversions of the thief and the loving test of the heavenly father. For a great and positive purpose.
Watch for a soon to be announced fun contest for winning a copy of my June 1st release: Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon.