Wild horses are fun to watch. Occasionally something happens on the desert that teaches me about life in the kingdom of God. This is one of those times.
Before this face off and defeat of the stallion on the left, all was quiet just two days before. The victorious one was living with a band of bachelors.
Wild horses live together in family groups called bands.
A family band consists of anywhere from 3 to 12 horses. There’s always a lead stallion, one or more mares and one or more young ones. I have seen younger mature stallions stay with the family band and take on a supportive role. At times I’ve watched lead stallions teach the younger males how to fight or supervise play fighting among younger stallions. This is called horse play. I’ve also seen a young stallion eventually take part of the family band away and start his own family. Often young males become competition for the lead band stallion, so they are forced to leave by the lead stallion. The young stallions form bands. It is fun to encounter a bachelor band because they often play fight and wrestle. It’s where the term “horsing around” comes from. No one gets seriously hurt. They may be affectionate with one another before or after they tangle.
The palomino on the right was in such a bachelor band just a few days before the above interaction. I call him Golden Boy. He was obviously the lead stallion in the band.
Two days after spending some time photographing the bachelors, Glenn and I came back and found a family band to photograph in the same area. We noticed a stallion standing out in front on a higher rock looking at something. We followed his stare to see a darker stallion hanging around nearby.
Conflict was in the air.
But horses aren’t in a big hurry. We decided to hike along the trail. When we returned a couple of hours later we saw dust flying and horses running in the distance. A drama was unfolding before our eyes. The palomino came running over to the family band and joined them. They were now grazing together. Then I recognized him. He was the lead stallion from the bachelor band, Golden Boy! He stole this family from the darker horse!
We saw the brown stallion walking toward us. He stood nearby, about 100 yards away, casually grazing. I walked over to him. He looked sad and lonely. I spoke to him, told him he needed to have courage and go get his family back. I really did pray for him.
When I turned my attention to Golden Boy and his new family, I could see they were accepting him. A mare and her foal came up to him, and they brought their heads together. They were communicating! Golden Boy then got into a posture of confidence while she watched. With his head held high, his chest forward, and his muscles flexing, he turned to march up the hill to meet the other stallion. It was obvious it was time to meet the brown stallion and make a stand; he would fight for his new family.
The stallions met face to face, nose to nose.
They seemed to be checking each other out. Then the brown stallion reared up and attacked Golden Boy. Both exhibited courage. Golden Boy was fierce and relentless. Then, suddenly the brown stallion turned and ran. He lost his courage, gave up the fight, and ran for his life. Golden Boy chased him. On and on they both ran. Golden Boy was catching up to the other stallion quickly. Finally they ran out of sight. It all happened so fast.
It was so quiet after the intense fight.
The mare came up the hill and the others followed her. She stood on the path and looked in the direction they had run. The sun would soon set. Only one horse would return. But when? It was time for us to go. We had seen enough to know that wild horses can be ferocious and and the outcome, deadly.
Will you stand steadfast to face the enemy in your life?
Do you stand and fight for awhile, then give up? You might wind up running for your life. Golden Boy knew if he wanted to keep his new family he had to fight and not back down. He proved he was courageous. He did not back down.
Your enemy the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Be firm in your faith and resist him (1Peter 5:8,9a).
Courage stands in the face of fear and does not back down. Your enemy is dangerous, but God is greater. Other people can pray for you, but every person makes the final decision to stand in the face of fear, to believe that God is on your side. Or not.
I prayed for the brown stallion. But, in the midst of the battle he decided to run. Other people may pray for you, but there comes a time where you must stand, just you and God. Stand steadfast. Believe you will win against the devil.
So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will run away from you. (James 4:7)
Which stallion will you be like?
Scripture quotations are taken from the GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION, SECOND EDITION, Copyright©1992 by American Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.