I think it started at our grandson's two-year birthday party. With Cassie. That cute little Shetland pony that the party lady brought for the kids to ride in a little circle.
That's when my wife said, "Wouldn't it be nice if we could have Cassie at our place for him to ride?" So how can I say no to a pony for our then-only grandchild?
Not long after we bought Cassie, my honey casually commented, "You know horses are social animals. They really need company." Four horses later, they had plenty of company. Somehow, people kept coming up with horses for my horsie-lady.
Now I'm originally Apartment Boy from Chicago. So I'm certainly no equine expert. But one thing I know. When our grandchildren expressed a desire to ride a horse, they didn't just climb aboard and start riding. Those horses first had to be tamed and trained.
You don't just hop on an animal that's never been ridden and take off.
Unless you're Jesus, that is.
I've heard and read the story of Jesus' Palm Sunday donkey ride into Jerusalem countless times. Our kids and then grandkids have come home waving their Sunday School palm branches again and again.
But I missed the miracle. Probably because it doesn't shout in the Biblical account - it whispers. In these instructions Jesus gave two of his disciples the day of His "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem, he said: "Go to the village - you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here" (Luke 19:30).
As Jesus mounts up, the crowd fires up. They start cheering. Shouting. Waving palm branches. Throwing cloaks and branches down in front of Him. Surrounding him on all sides. Freaking out His long-eared ride, right?
Actually, no. Now this donkey's never been tamed, never been trained, never been ridden. We should be expecting a rodeo, not a triumphal entry.
But with Jesus aboard, all that donkey's wild instincts are quieted and controlled.
I think that's a miracle. One with which I am personally familiar.
Since Jesus has been aboard, something's been happening to the wild inside. He's quieting it. Taming it. Changing it.
One Biblical writer lamented the animal in his soul this way: "I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate - Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?" (Romans 7:14-15; 24).
That's a battle I know all too well. Most of us do. That selfish, sometimes mean-spirited part of me that hurts most the people I love most. The mouth that can be so encouraging one minute and so destructive the next. The harsh, the angry, the dark, the dirty, the dishonest. The wildness inside that wins too often. Scarring me and those around me.
But the Bible writer who knew the battle also found the answer to his plaintive "Who will free me?" - "Thank God!" he said. "The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."
He had found a Savior stronger than his sin. So have I. Something game-changing happened when Jesus gave His life on that cross to pay for our sin. He broke its power to control us. If He is in control of us.
So I turned over the reins to Jesus. And He - with the power that enabled Him to blow away death on Easter Morning - is taming the animal inside. Making me a man I never could be on my own. With a caring heart, a gentleness, a self-control, a love I know must be His.
I don't have to go far to see a miracle. I can look in the mirror.