Up until just a few months ago (*sniffle, sniffle*), I had a horse. I loved that horse. He was a beautiful red color, had a great gait, and was full of personality. The only problem was, I could never really ride him anywhere…
(Bet you weren’t expecting a horse story, were you? : P)
This horse, whose name was Jose Cuervo… (We didn’t name him. Or call him that. Much.) Anyway, this horse, Jose, was terrified of his own shadow. It was ridiculous.
He had this great, deep snort that he would do whenever he was afraid and he would jump into what we always called “spy position.” Have you ever seen a horse jump into the air off the ground with all four feet flying and then land with those legs spread as far as possible? Well that’s spy position and that’s what Jose did.
When I rode, I worked and worked at getting him used to things like bushes and dogs and trees, but no matter how much I tried to convince him, he just knew that tall scary thing that was blowing its branches in the wind was out to get him.
I knew that he would be fine. I told him that it would be fine. I had never given him a reason to think that my directions wouldn’t be fine. If he had just trusted me…
But he refused.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Have you ever had a reason not to trust God? I haven’t. Yet, when I see some big, scary tree in life, I get skittish and wonder if maybe my way is better than the way God is asking me to go.
Sometimes we are afraid to do things that are directly commanded in the Bible. The Bible tells us to witness for Him, to love others genuinely, to go the extra mile, to give generously, to tithe. Sometimes those things feel like a task beyond what we could possibly be expected to do.
Sometimes we are afraid because of the situations that God allows in our lives. When we have a conflict or we have health problems or financial worries, we feel that fear creeping in. God is saying He will guide us through this, but His way of total trust doesn’t feel reliable.
But that’s the point of trust, isn’t it? If we always agreed with someone we said we trusted, we wouldn’t really be trusting them and their judgment. We would be trusting our own. We already saw in Proverbs 3 that trust involves leaning “not on our own understanding.”
We have to remember that God is God. I love in Psalm 46:10 when it says, “Be still and know that I am God…” How often in our worries or our fears are we stopping and contemplating the fact that God is God? The God of everything! The God of every situation!
And we know that that God who is in total control walks with us through every situation. Psalm 9:10 says, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
Trust really takes some humility. We think we know the way that our life should be going or how a situation should look, and we pull and tug trying to make things go where we want them to. But really, we no more understand the situation than Jose understood my desire to ride around the tree. While he only knew the fear and the worry and the big, scary thing, I knew that if we could successfully get by that tree (and a few other obstacles), we would be out in the wide open spaces. I wanted something better for him than just the safe places he knew well.
God knows what is best for us, in a far, far greater sense. He sees the big picture of our lives and the world and nothing He does is without reason or without love. We have to remember who is in the know and whose judgment is worthy to be trusted.
Isaiah 55:9 says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
We can’t understand the mind of God. It just isn’t possible. But we can trust His ways above our ways, always. And I am saying this to myself as much as anyone. We need to be in His Word, filling ourselves up with the knowledge of His grace and His mercy, and seeing again and again how He has carried His people. We need to be spending time in prayer, asking God to remind us of who He is and asking for His help to trust.
My prayer for myself and for all of you is this: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
And that is what I learned from Jose Cuervo.