We do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.
2 Corinthians 1:8
Picture a wild stallion being ridden for the first time. It doesn’t want to submit to the rider or do what it’s told. It enjoys being fed, having its trough filled with fresh water, and being allowed to go out and nibble grass in the sunshine. The problem comes when the saddle is tossed on its back and the harness is placed over its head.
A cowboy has more sense than to toss a saddle on the back of a wild horse that has never been ridden. For days, he may lead the animal around a pen as it adjusts to the feel of the harness and its new surroundings. Then the saddle comes out of the tack room and is placed on the horse’s back but without a rider. Finally, the cowboy puts a foot in one of the stirrups.
There are many steps in between these, but we can form a mental picture of the process used to break a horse and prepare it to be ridden. When the cowboy climbs into the saddle, the initial shock of having someone on its back is frightening and irritating. The animal might buck and rear its head before it begins to settle and trot around its pen. Some horses refuse to be broken and risk being sold. Others, in time and through proper care, are broken and begin the enjoyment of a lifetime of service to their owners.
When God begins to work in your life, He doesn’t immediately toss a saddle on your back or break you through the circumstances of life. Instead, He works with a plan and goal in mind. Bit by bit and inch by inch, He trains you to live a life that glorifies Him and is a blessing to others.