One of my favorite movies is Seabiscuit. Do you remember that movie? It is the story of three broken men and a broken horse, and how they help each other on their journey to healing. Mr. Howard is an inventor and entrepreneur who loses everything during the Great Depression…his fortune, his marriage, and his young son. Tom Smith is a gifted horse trainer that is down on his luck…homeless and living out under the stars. Red Pollard is a young boy who was separated from his family during the Great Depression with the promise that his dad would call him weekly, which he never did. Red is a gifted jockey who is seen as too big to be successful. He bounces around from owner to owner because of his uncontrollable anger. Seabiscuit is a race horse that because of his size he was used as a lead pony to help other horses win. And when he did race he did exactly what he was trained to do…
It is a beautiful story of how suffering and loss can be redeemed through perseverance and community. If you haven’t watched it, I would highly recommend it. Charles Howard has an interest in horse racing, however, he doesn’t know much about horses. He bumps into Tom Smith and they become friends, and they begin the process of finding a race horse. Smith is at the track one morning and sees Sea Biscuit. Even though SB was beat-up, had a limp, wheezed when he breathed, and was smaller than most race horses, Smith had a feeling. Because of Sea Biscuits flaws Charles Howard was able to purchase him for dirt cheap. When Smith began to work with Seabiscuit they realized that he was a wounded horse that was incorrigible. One day when the handlers were trying to contain Seabiscuit and Smith was about to throw in the towel, he witnessed Red at the same barn fighting with a couple of men. Smith immediately saw the connection between Red and Seabiscuit. Red agreed to be their jockey, but they weren’t really prepared for how difficult it would be to work with a horse and a jockey who were both deeply wounded from their past.
There is a scene when Red and Seabiscuit are in their first race. Smith had discovered that Seabiscuit was an incredible race horse that if held back for the first half of the race, would get that look in his eye and go for broke. Red was instructed to hold the horse back and then let him go. Seabiscuit, out of sheer determination, and a lifetime of being held back, would kick it into another gear and blow them all away. In the first official race Red was instructed to follow that plan. However, during the race another jockey cut off Red and Seabiscuit. Red raged with anger and abandoned their plan in an effort to get even, and they lost the race. In the following scene I want you to pay attention to Red’s reaction to Smith when he is confronted about not following the plan…also pay attention to what Howard asks him.
Son, what are you so mad about?
I spent many years with a raging anger lying just under the surface of my life. Sometimes all it took for me to explode was for one of the kids to carelessly spill a glass of milk. Other times it was when I would break something, or fail at trying to fix something around the house. During those years I couldn’t have told you why I was so angry, but I can tell you that there were many times when I scared myself at how explosive and irrational my anger was.
The past influences the present!
Like every one of us, Red had to go back into his story and remember what it was that caused him so much pain and loss in his life. He recalled being shipped off to live with someone else, and the broken promises his dad made to him. He remembered the times around the family dinner table, and the safety and connection that he had lost. He held on to a bag of books that his dad had left with him…the only connection to his past that he had left. He was about to drop them in the water when he remembered that his dad had said over and over to him “son you have a gift”. It is true, our past (story) greatly influences how we live in the present.
Like Red, several years ago when I was at what seemed to be the end of my rope, I sensed that Jesus was asking me, “son what are you so mad about?” I too realized that I needed to take the time to look back into my story. I asked Jesus to reveal to me what had caused me to be so angry. Out of his deep love for me, he gently reminded me of several instances in my life when I was forgotten, overlooked, shamed for doing something wrong or not good enough, humiliated, and uninvited. He invited me to take his hand and walk with him toward healing and restoration. Honestly, I have received much healing, and while I can still fly off the handle from time to time, I am not the same man that I was then.
There is Hope for you too!
No matter what your story is, there is hope for you too. It is never too late, and you are never too far gone to cry out to Jesus and ask him to take you back into your own story to show you where all of that anger is coming from. Yes, it is scary for most of us to pull back the black veil that has been placed over our hearts from the things that were done or said to us. And, there is so much healing available if we just ask. Do you believe that there is a life you can life where you don’t have to hang your head with shame, or flinch with the fear of being found out? Do you believe that there is healing for the broken relationships that are scattered across the landscape of your life? Do you believe that your Heavenly Father loves you so much that he wants you to live in freedom? I love how Charles Howard, like our Heavenly Father, is ready to give Red what he needed, but Red had to humble himself and ask…we do too. I can hear Abba saying…”of course I want you to ride”.
If you are ready to take steps toward healing and freedom, I encourage you to first ask Jesus, and then find another man, or group of men who are willing to help. If you don’t have someone who you can ask, feel free to email me. I would love to help you get started on your own journey toward healing and restoration.
True Pursuit’s mission is to bring hearts rescued and freedom to men through developing resources, events and training programs that invite men to have an active relationship with God and walk in freedom.