Caught in the round pen of life
Sep 07, 2017 01:40PM
It’s an event open at no cost to the public by Grace Baptist Church in Orem, on a ranch owned by Ralph Porter, who attends Faith Baptist Church in Spanish Fork.
“We wanted to bridge a gap between people who live in the city and those who are not city folks,” said Daniel Long, pastor of the church formed last October as a merger of Victory Baptist Church and Berean Bible Church, both in Orem. Victory had the building; Berean had a vibrant young congregation. Grace Baptist is the result.
“We also wanted to help city people understand and better appreciate horses,” Long told Serve Daily. “This event will help people better understand mankind’s relationship with God. It’s appropriate for all ages.”
The event starts with an unbroken horse brought into the round pen and set free. People seated on hay bales or standing a short distance from the pen watch as the trainer in about an hour gets the horse to follow.
Bob Toomer of Grantsville, Tooele County, Utah, is that trainer. He’s convocational as a horse trainer who uses his skill in ministry. That ministry involves training an unbroken colt while he is talking with the audience, comparing the building of that relationship to the building of a relationship with God.
“It’s a partnership that develops, one that’s based on two-way communication and trust,” Toomer explained. “I want to help the colt, which has never been saddled or ridden, develop into a useful horse for its owner.
“My second goal is to work with that horse in a way that illustrates how God works with us, so the audience will have a clear picture of what God wants to do in their lives,” the horse trainer continued. “In the process of working the colt, I try to lay the foundation of who God is and what He expects from His creation.”
As he works with the horse, Toomer talks about God the creator, God the author of order and authority, the consequences of right and wrong, fearing God, trusting God, and peace.
“The horse is free when it enters the pen,” Toomer said. “As I bring something into its life that it doesn’t like, its natural inclination is to run from me. When I add pressure to confine the horse, such as a halter or saddle, the horse will fight that pressure and resist what I am asking it to do.
“My goal is to bring that horse to the point where it is willing to work with me and do what I ask,” the trainer continued. “Most horses come in with a pretty healthy fear of me, and that fear helps them to become wise, mature, valuable horses. Like the Bible says, ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.’
“The Bible also says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.’ That’s Proverbs 3:5-6,” Toomer said. “I want the horse to let me direct its path. …
“As I keep working with that horse, it will eventually bow its head in a submissive manner, signaling that it is willing to do whatever I ask of it,” Toomer continued. “When a horse learns the right balance of fear and trust, it will basically be willing to do what I ask it to do.
“One of the main messages that comes out as I work with horses is the need to totally yield our lives to God,” Toomer said. “It’s a message of total surrender to God.”
A lot can happen between the time a horse runs free in the pen and the moment he surrenders.
“Sometimes a horse will trust me and walk with me, and then suddenly it will go off running again,” Toomer said. “In those situations, the horse is double-minded. It is thinking about trusting me, but it goes back to trusting itself. The horse’s response helps the audience understand the trust of James 1:7 and 8, where God addresses our doubting Him and wavering in our faith.
For additional examples of how training a horse compares with a person yielding to God, drive before 5 p.m. Saturday, September 16, to the round pen at 1662 West 4600 South, a part of Spanish Fork known as Palmyra. Parking is somewhat limited.
“I’ve known Bob for quite a few years,” Long said. “I wanted people in the community to be benefitted by what he does. Everyone is welcome!”