Who's in the Saddle?
If the 19th century sage Ralph Waldo Emerson had a page on Facebook, perhaps his “favorite quotation” would be his own words: “Events are in the saddle and tend to ride mankind.” Events really are in the saddle these days, aren’t they? A contagious unrest in the Middle East spreading street riots from country to country. The President in his primetime State of the Union address to Congress and the nation this week checklisting one by one the immense challenges facing our nation. “Events in the saddle” indeed.
But the ancient prophets perennially reminded their audiences and readers to remember the Someone else who is also in the saddle. Stepping into that midnight palace of inebriated orgy, the elderly prophet Daniel interpreted to the petrified (and now sober) king the mysterious handwriting on the wall: “‘The Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. . . . The God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified’” (Daniel 5:21, 23). Hardly had those words been uttered, then the mighty empire of Babylon collapsed in the wee hours of that very morning. “Events are in the saddle”—but so is God!
And that is why I’m convinced we can face the future with confident hope and quiet assurance. The economic meltdown that is draining away the financial might of this civilization isn’t worth fearing. If God chooses to restore our financial viability for the sake of his kingdom and his mission on earth, then he will. If on the other hand, he chooses to allow the slow monetary hemorrhaging to bleed away our economic vitality for the sake of advancing his kingdom and mission on earth, then “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” Knowing his will is done on earth “even as it is in heaven” assures the one who trusts God that in our very present circumstances God is still achieving his ultimate purpose, and that all things are working together for good. “ . . . the complicated play of human events [“in the saddle”] is under divine control. Amidst the strife and tumult of nations, He . . . still guides the affairs of the earth.” (Education 178)
Good news for our upcoming South Bend seminar, “iPerceive: A Future You Can Count On”—a public series of lectures I’ll be giving February 11-19. The billboards, the website (www.iPerceive.org), the mailed invitations, the television invitations, the personal invitations—it takes all of us to get the word out. But most of all we need the mighty Spirit of God to anoint both the speaker and the event with divine power. So won’t you please join me in earnestly praying for God’s intervention. Boldly claim Ephesians 6:19, 20 on my behalf please.
And then let us take both heart and courage. After all, Christ reigns. And he is returning. I perceive there is room in the saddle for hope.