A few weeks ago my sister and I bought a horse. A beautiful Frisian lady of five years young. From an early age, horses in my life have had the ability to teach me powerful lessons about God. Without any outward appearance (although this lady does wear a three-piece black), but simply because of who they are and how they act.
Our horse appears to find everything scary and exciting in her new environment. From a protected environment with few views, she now stands in a place where you can see for miles. Quite a challenge that personally makes me very happy. After climbing on her back a few times in a safe, protected environment, I thought it was time to go to the large (in her eyes, life-threatening) riding arena.
Singing into jail
So I leisurely sent her onto the path to the riding arena. In her experience, the road there was a ghost path. I felt the doubt run through her body. Stand still for a moment. Jump to the side. Make yourself very big. And yet we continue walking. My tactic to put her at ease is to talk softly and sing. It must have been a silly display from a distance. An uncertain, swinging horse with a singing rider: “You don’t have to be afraid, even if the storm rages. Just put your hand – uh – hoof, in our Lord’s.” And so we arrived and she walked into the riding arena without too many problems.
As I sang, I glowed with pride. Wow, what confidence this horse already had! She just does it. Although every fiber in her screams: “Run back to your stable!”, she continued and overcame her fear. I noticed that she needed less and less encouragement to do something exciting. First I had to confirm ten times that it was okay and that I was with her. Then five times, then twice and at one point she just walked away on her own with me on her back. Wow!
And suddenly I looked in the mirror and realized how I often go through life. Searching, sometimes also anxious. Unsure and yet curious. Ready to run back to the safe stable and then secretly watch what is happening from my safe place.
And God who walks with me, encourages me and challenges me to trust Him. And also the God who is proud of me when I overcome my insecurities and take a step. So that He can show that He can actually be trusted. Because of that interaction, I dare to take a step next time with a little less encouragement.
Growing in confidence
There are still plenty of challenges ahead with this horse. Because now that she dares to walk into the riding arena, next time I will put down an umbrella or a tarp. In this way we grow together in trust in each other.
God also has plenty of challenges with my person. And sometimes it frustrates me that I don’t immediately exude confidence. That I am not full of the Spirit all at once, doing my work while talking to God and knowing exactly what His plan is for my life. But then I hear singing deep inside… “You don’t have to be afraid, even if the storm rages. Just place your hand in our Lord’s.”
You know what’s cool? Our horse is reassured by the presence of others of his kind. They don’t say anything, but they are there. And because of their trust, our horse also becomes braver. Do you get the lesson?