8 Seconds

Yesterday afternoon, Phil, the kids, and I attended the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. This year, we got to see the rodeo as well as tour the grounds, look at the animals, ride the rides, etc. My favorite event of this rodeo session was the bull riding.

The rider sits astride the bull’s back while the bull is still in the chute. He makes sure he has the rope wrapped just so around his hand. Then, he gives a single nod, and another cowboy pulls the gate open.

Out of that chute comes a wildly bucking bull. He wants that cowboy off his back, and he kicks, jumps, and twists as he attempts to fling the rider into the dust of the arena. Meanwhile, the cowboy rides with one hand gripping the rope for dear life, his other arm raised into the air, desperately trying to remain centered and upright (not to mention on the bull) until the buzzer sounds 8 seconds later.

Eight seconds doesn’t sound like a long time, but it must seem like an eternity when you’re on the back of a bull who’s trying to throw you off.

Life is a lot like bull riding in some ways. You think you’re ready for it, but suddenly, it begins rearing and twisting like crazy. You’re desperate to stay on, but you don’t know how much longer you can. It feels like life is trying to toss you off its back into the dust.

When they’re bull riding, cowboys only think about that very instant. Their minds and bodies must be focused on the here and now, or they’re going down. But in life, when we’re being tossed about like crazy, we have to focus on what happens after the buzzer, not before.

When the buzzer sounds in bull riding, the bullfighters (also known as “rodeo clowns”) rush toward you so you can dismount. Then they distract the bull so you can get away. You head to the rails and climb up. You’re safe. It’s over.

In life, as you dismount from your circumstances (whether in this life or in heaven), God Himself rushes in. Instead of heading to the rails, you head for His embrace. You’re safe. It’s over.

May we never forget that no matter what we’re going through, the buzzer will sound, the ride will end, and we’ll be safe. The pain will be over. We will have won.

Even when it seems like it will, your pain won’t last forever. The end is coming.

Hold out for the buzzer, my friend. Hold on just a little longer.

2 Corinthians 4:17—So our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (NIV)

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