Tag Archives: horses

Can Horses Help us Find the Path of Life?

Horses have been used by mankind for centuries:  they have been trained and employed in myriad ways. Horses provide travelers aid, power farmers’ plows, help soldiers fight, carry burdens and manage herds.  Parents employ horses to teach children responsibility while building  physical and relational skills.  Of course, millions simply use horses for pleasure and enjoyment.  Currently, researchers are exploring the utilization of horses for academic and psychological therapy.

With all of those great roles for horses, one assignment surpasses them all:  helping establish or restore human beings to relationship with their Creator.

The God of the Bible is a relational God.  He created humanity because He loved…and love cannot be fulfilled outside of relationships.

Horses, being herd animals are naturals at relationships.  We humans crave connection, but the fall of humanity from connection to God (Genesis 3) impairs every relationship. Often we are blind to the things we do in the context of relationships.  Horses reflect what we do not see or feel in ourselves.

Perhaps more importantly, horses and humans share a common desire–a desire a horse understands more than a human.  Our craving for connection that arises from our broken relationship with God clouds are thinking.  It was at the fall that fear, shame and hiding entered the world.  Through that darkness, we pursue relationships.  A horse, on the other hand, pursues relationships exactly for the reasons we crave connection:  security.

When Adam & Eve chose to walk the path God had forbidden, they lost their security.  They also lost the identity God had given them; they chose to create their own.  Without their God-given identity, they had to craft their own significance as well.  Those two losses–security and significance–continue to plague humanity.  Connecting with a horse requires understanding that need from the equine view…which opens eyes to our own needs.

Even people who do not like horses, often want to ‘pet their nose’ and look with awe at their power and strength.  Horses, though, aren’t longing for our friendship or worship.  They want a leader they can trust.  As we engage with a horse to understand its needs, we begin to see our own needs–and the magnificent, costly way God has met every need for us.

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Why won’t he listen to me?

Jump, Scooby, Jump!

She’s four.  She’s been on a horse for about four hours in her life.  She knew what he could do.  She knew what she wanted to do.  She spoke clearly and told him so.

Scooby, who loves jumping, ignored her.   17579988_1435669199829684_1360804793_n

Her voice became more insistent until the words were a plaintive plea:  “Jump, Scooby,
Jump.”

Scooby walked on, unperturbed.

Finally, frustration flooding and tears spilling, she cried out, “Why doesn’t he listen to me?”

Kendal spoke the words every child of God has cried at some point or other.  We know what God can do.  We know what we want and we ask clearly, repeatedly…and nothing changes.  Hearts broken, frustration overflowing, we lash out at being ignored.

Like Kendal, we fail to realize God won’t do what we are not ready for.  It is not that He disagrees with our request; He just knows the time is not right.  God recognizes our weaknesses even when we don’t.  He feels that our faith muscles need strengthening to keep us balanced in the grand actions we request.

God never withholds what is best and He never gives what will harm.

Next time your heart cries out, remember Kendal and whisper a thank you!

Too Much Love to Leave Us in Our Mess!

Years ago I read a story of a little boy who defiantly responded to his punishment with,

“I’m sitting in time out but my heart is standing up!”

There is profound truth in that—and it is the reality of many adults (especially those in Church).  Obedience is not the same as being engaged in a connected relationship.  In our faith walk, God’s goal is never simple obedience.  External action without heart engagement is a sham that God will press through.

I love to watch my daughter work with her horse, Scooby.  He is a high-spirited horse…rebel-scoobyand she is a high-spirited girl.  His attitude does not intimidate her.  The dynamics of their relationship reveal the physics law of equal and opposite reaction.  In their interaction, I see a picture of how God works with His kids.  Riesa does not object to Scooby’s personality; she embraces him even when he is a ‘hot mess.’  She meets his enthusiasm (and even his rebellion) with the force needed to achieve what she asked in the beginning.

God has standards, plans and purposes for everyone—the moral standards are the same, the plans and purposes are for the good of all.  Yet, He crafted every one of us uniquely.  Our personalities, life experiences, and cultures assure unique expressions of God from our lives.  Until we surrender our personal control, the only thing we express is our self—and without God that is an expression of death.   The moment we release our ‘self’ focus, God supernaturally blesses in both the natural and spiritual realms!

When Scooby lets go of his own agenda, he and Riesa become a team.  Their personalities blend into a unique, abundant expression of life.  In the natural realm, they are just a ‘girl 13118959_1133635346699739_8904573366461875584_nand her horse.’  New skills, greater partnership and fun in the field become realities.  In the spiritual realm, growth in understanding and insights into deeper truths evolve as well—bearing seeds of eternal hope in many lives.  It has been and will continue to be a journey, just as the life of faith is a journey.  God loves us right where we are at…but He loves us too much to leave us where we are at!

Genesis 21 and Galatians 4 give us insights on this Truth.  In Genesis, we read how Abram and Sarai sought to bring about the promises of God with their own best efforts.  Their intentions were good; they were not rebelling against God.  Neither were they trusting in Him.  His promise seemed to distant; they decided 15 years was long enough…must be they needed to help Him out.  Paul goes to the heart of the matter in Galatians:  law or grace.  Law focuses on my performance; grace trusts God’s performance.  The Christian life is to be Christ’s life…not what I can drum up on my own.  But in the magnificent creativity and power of God, He empowers me to give unique expression to the life of Christ.

The Father loves each of us and wants to see how we will walk out relationship with Him.  He doesn’t want to see our best effort at ‘being good.’  Our best imitation of obedience is nothing more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  Like the little boy who sat in timeout with a heart that stood up, many appear to serve God 14076958807_fcee53117d_zand walk in obedience.  The service produces things they want:  acceptance, belonging, praise, freedom from the hassles outright sin creates.  Many of these folks sincerely believe they are serving God in the process…blind to the reality that they actually serve the god of self.  It is an empty sham that God will press into.

Here is where the glory of God shines through in a magnificent way.  In the face of what is actually rebellion, self-glorification and rejection, He looks with love.  He maintains His call to come to Him.  He uses whatever pressure is necessary to move individuals out of their dark deception and into His light!  It’s a journey worth embarking on and one surrounded by love.

Will you let His light pierce your dark places

and lead you to Himself?