And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse,
and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True,
and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
I live in the heart of horse country, truly the horse capital of the world, and I teach at a private college where Equine Studies is one of our pillar programs. Hardly a day goes by when I am strolling around campus that I am not captivated by the unbridled, indescribable beauty that impresses my heart: painted skies sometimes stark blue or churning and hanging low; open fields splashed with rows of brown, green, or yellow; towering trees from maple to oak; endless plank fencing that splits and defines; winding country roads that whisper, “I’ll take you home”, revitalizing fresh air; and always in the distance, horses.
There is a horse and rider marathon competition in the horse world called Endurance Riding. Riders are given maps of the route ahead of time so they can see where the ditches, steep banks, water crossings, and uneven terrain are located on the 50 or 100 mile trek. My students tell me that the connection between horse and rider in an event such as this is absolutely unparalleled. The rider must trust the horse. Although the rider controls the reins, it is the horse, in this case, that leads.
I picture my relationship with the Lord as such. Although He gives me the reins and lets me choose the trail, in the end He is the One who leads. So the question to me becomes: “Do I trust Him?” As He guides me by His Spirit, I may not listen because I do not like the path that I see ahead. I may not appreciate the upcoming altitude, the rising temperatures, the darkness—and in my own might, I tug at the reins, perhaps I yank them, struggling to find better footing, a better hold, better conditions, and dare I say, comfort.
It’s the midnight phone call when lives are changed in an instant, the fear of the unknown, the bill that never gets paid while the kids need new shoes and coats, the loneliness that grips and pulls the heart and mind under, the diagnosis, the “Mom, I’m moving to Zimbabwe” moments, the heart stuck in the past, whether in miry mud or in exhilarating flight. When we want to fix, we struggle to trust.
Oh, to release the reins, thighs buckled tightly around the horse’s belly, head bowed low, sweet surrender, while we ride in tandem, in submission to our Maker. Let’s give God His head and then aim to endure. We might be surprised at the blessing and beauty that engulfs us along the way.
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