But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:23-24 (NIV)
My horse, Trucker, has a number of allergies. His skin is so itchy that he rubs himself raw and loses his hair. After years of spending lots of money on conditioners, the vet tested for allergies by drawing blood and analyzing it. He is allergic to oats, apples, alfalfa hay, oak trees, flies, dust mites, mold and cats. All the things that horses eat and are found in a barn. I changed his grain and hay and added a supplement to boost his immune system . For over a year, he did really well. Then, in September right after the vet paid a visit and raved about how his improvement, he started losing weight and developed large bald patches on his skin. I changed his feed again, but he still looked terrible. Then, it dawned on me. This fall, the oak trees in the pasture produced a large crop of acorns. Horses love acorns even though they are bad for them. They ingest a lot of sand while grazing for acorns. It fills their belly with sand and disrupts their digestive system. Also, the high levels of protein are too rich and cause foot and hoof problems. It made sense to me if he is allergic to oak trees, he is probably allergic to acorns. I fed him a supplement to clear his stomach of sand, but other than spreading manure under the oak trees to make the acorns less desirable, it was impossible to keep him from eating the nuts. While I administered some doses of horsey antihistamine, I just had to wait until the acorns were all gone to expect any improvement in him. Now, he has a fuzzy winter coat with bald spots on his face, neck, shoulders and butt. I am treating it with a yellow sulpher cream that promotes hair growth so he looks like he is wearing war paint. Sadly, it will take at least a year for him to regrow his beautiful black mane. Now, it is so short, it sticks up like a Mohawk completing the Indian theme. He looks so bad I am embarrassed for anyone to see him. He doesn’t know the difference though. If he could, he’d just keep right on eating those acorns and rubbing up against trees, boards, fence or anything solid enough to press against. I can’t really fault him. How many times do I do something I know is bad for me just because it tastes or feels good? I think about the impact on my ability to sleep even as I lift that chocolate cake to my mouth. I remember the amount of calories in those Christmas cookies and calculate how much exercise it would take to counteract them, but eat the cookies anyway. Paul wrote about that struggle in the verses above, but he wasn’t making excuses. Just acknowledging his humanness and stating that only God can overcome our own desires. Still, I need to make better choices. Now, I have to figure out how to communicate that to my horse as well.