This is written by my Cousin Marty Campbell — read more of Marty and Madi’s Ministry on their Facebook page
My grandpa, Chuck Gooding, grew up above Troy, Oregon at Grouse Flat. The house is no longer there, because my parents bought the logs, and we went and dismantled it in the fall of 1997. Grandpa was there showing us around the place and giving us a living history of every board, every log, every tree.
When he was just a youngster, they had an old race horse around the place. Grandpa always said he was a pretty good horse, and he rode him quite a bit. There were a bunch of wild horses running around up there, as well, and for a four year old kid, there was plenty of land on which to ride.
One day, Grandpa was straddling the old race horse and riding around the place when one of his older siblings happened to pop a leather belt. Apparently, it sounded to the old race horse like a pistol firing, because he kicked it into high gear and took off at a derby run. Grandpa did all right, but the horse ran out the gate and across a big old field right into the middle of that bunch of wild horses. It was there that he fell off.
That was my grandpa’s first memory, and I can understand why. The entire herd of mustangs ran over the top of him as he lay there in that Wallowa County sod. He remembers the hooves and the sound of dirt being torn apart. He remembers the soil flying and the grass being torn, but he also remembers that not one horse’s foot touched him. He came out of the ordeal completely unscathed—not a bruise, a scratch, or anything else.
I’ve always heard that if a horse can, he’ll avoid stepping on you. The experiences I’ve had have proven otherwise. However, I was usually hanging upside down in a stirrup when the feet were coming down around me, and it’s a lot harder to miss when that’s the case for a horse. But with my grandpa, that was the case. Every one of those horses jumped over the top of him and not one hit him with a single foot. Some might call it luck. I call it the grace of God.
I think of all the times when I was in a situation where I should have gotten hurt or killed, and I came out with relatively little damage. I had a wheat truck roll over my head, smashing my skull between the roof of the cab and the top of the seat. Nothing but a few cuts. I had a cow step on my head, and I just had a few stitches. I had a bucking horse step right on my head, and I came out of it with a strawberry and a ripped hat. I can draw a couple of different conclusions here—1) God is truly looking out for me, or 2) I’ve got a really hard head. Some might agree to both.
However, God truly does look out for us and take care of us. He doesn’t want us to get hurt in any way. We live in a fallen world, though, so bad things do happen. However, Psalm 91:11-12 tells us, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” God is truly looking out for our better interests. That’s a God I’m glad is for me. That’s a God I love.