Friday, July 24, 2015

Lessons From the Horse's Back

My apologies to those of you who don't understand horses...some of this may be confusing to you, but I hope you can still catch the lesson I learned the other day while working with a friend's horse. 


Dia would not move.

I watched her ears and felt her muscles tense and relax under my seat as I tried to understand why she wasn't getting what I was communicating. We had no saddle between us to interfere with my signals, and her hackamore fit just fine. I looked where I wanted to go and asked again. Loose, open reins, a firm but gentle squeeze...nothing. Open reins, squeeze, and a click with my tongue. Her ears flicked back towards me but her feet didn't even shift. Again, but stronger: reins, legs, voice, and seat. Still nothing. 

Being one of my first times working with Dia, I expected that we might have a couple small misunderstandings, but I had thought it would be easier than this. Ground work with her was nearly flawless. She joined up with me pretty well and walked by me like a shadow as we worked in the round pen. I knew there were no physical problems with her as I had just examined her all over and only found a hint of healing thrush in her front hooves. There was no reason for Dia to not be walking forward. 

I decided to try again but added leverage to my list of signals. Sliding my hand down the right rein I pulled Dia's nose toward her shoulder. As her neck curved to the right I gave a slight squeeze with my legs and again used every signal I had to ask her to start walking. 

She took a step! 

...but as soon as I let up on the reins and straightened her out she stopped again. So we did the neck stretch and signal method again but in the other direction. A few more steps. 

Gradually, one step to the right, two steps left, three to the right, one step left, and so on, we started to move forward. 

After a little more work we ended on a good note, I hopped off, and Dia was able to go where she had wanted to go the whole time - back to her hot dusty pasture. 

But I was disappointed. Just down the hill from where we had worked on baby steps was a pond that would have been perfect to take Dia swimming in. It was a hot day, and I knew that both Dia and I love water. If she had only cooperated we could have spent that half hour chilling in the pond together instead of dancing back and forth under the blazing sun.

As I scuffed back to the tack shed a verse drifted through my mind...

"Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you..." (Ps. 32:9).

If only Dia had understood that I simply wanted her to walk us down the hill to the fresh, cool pond, I know she would have gladly pranced forward. Yet because she didn't know where I wanted to take her, even with a bridle we could only train when I'd had so much planned.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts..." (Is. 55:9).

How often do I behave just like Dia? My God, whose thoughts and plans are far beyond my understanding, works with me daily. He knows everything about me, and He does all He can to communicate with me. Yet sometimes I seem not to hear. My narrow view of life does not include the wonderful ideals and brilliant goals that God wants to attain with me. So when He asks me to move forward, I hesitate, and we start our little dance. He works with me where I will listen and grows me where I will obey until we slowly start to head in the direction He initially intended. 

But do I miss or postpone some of His blessings because of my unwillingness to go forward?

As I watch Dia stand in the sun, swatting pesky flies with her thick tail, I humbly surrender my disappointed heart to my own Master that I'm sure I have disappointed many times. 

"Dear Father, Your patience and love for me amaze me. Your plans are beyond what I can imagine. Though I can't always fathom the full picture, I want to listen and obey immediately the first time You speak. I don't want to be like the horse or mule... I want to follow You to Plan A, not force You to lead me to Plan B... Please, don't stop training me. Keep me in Your fold and under Your care. I love You (because You first loved me). Amen."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What Wondrous Love is This!

I came across this quotation yesterday, and was completely amazed. In one sentence, my entire picture of Christ was broadened and ennobled. What wondrous, unfathomable love - that He could love the repentant sinner more than one unfallen!

In March of 1889, Sister White wrote in her diary:

If all who commit wrongs would feel that Jesus loves us more dearly for the temptation that has been yielded to and confessed, than if there had been no error, no breach in the armor! – {1888 273.1}

Praise the Lord! For He loves even me!

Have you made a mistake or tripped up along the way? Have you turned off the upward path, dazzled by the pleasures of the world? In your heart, is there a secret fear that you have gone too far, been too bad, are too defiled to come before your God?

Cast off your fear and run to Jesus, for He loves you! He loves you more dearly now than He ever has before. His arms are open to you, calling you back from the darkness into the glorious hope of His love and light.

What love! That He who gave up all of heaven to live and die miserably, should love us more who caused His pain...

What wondrous love is this! Oh my soul, oh my soul!
What wondrous love is this, oh my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down, 
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing,
To God and to the Lamb I will sing,
To God and to the Lamb, 
Who is the great I AM, 
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I'm free I'll sing on, I'll sing on,
And when from death I'm free I'll sing on,
And when from death I'm free,
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.