Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Faith Walk

At the beginning of Summer, we installed box fans on the door of each horse stall in the barn, for the comfort of our friends. Most of the horses were cool with it, with the exception of Glorie.

Glorie has two sides to her personality. You know, like a lot of people. We may project one image but have another, more hidden side that surprises people once in awhile. Glorie has a lot of fire and spirit. She's a Tennessee Walker, which means she was bred to have a special fast walking gait that is closer to a run. Anyone who rides her needs to be ready to hold her back to a moderate walk, because if you let her, she will take off! When a new arrival, Peyton, joined the herd in the pasture, Glorie was very aggressive to him for awhile. She was bold to come up and run him off. Yet we noticed that she doesn't like to take the lead and jump in all alone. She prefers to be a co-conspirator with another horse that has a stronger personality. Yet for all her spirit and posturing, Glorie can also be quite the scaredy-cat. When we take her out for trail rides, she tends to be more skittish than the others. The oddest things can worry her.

So I got to see this side of Glorie come out when I took her in to her stall the first time after the fans were installed. The other horses had gone in just fine, and I gave no thought to it. So when Glorie stopped short at the door, it took me a moment to realize what was going on. This innocent fan that was put there for her good had morphed into a scary monster that would surely eat her if she stepped through that doorway! I sweet-talked her for a few minutes before she finally took the plunge, and I do mean plunge, through that door. She rushed into the stall, as far back as she could go. After I removed her halter, went out, and closed the door, Glorie stood there trembling in the back of her stall. It took a few days before she was desensitized enough to the presence of the fan to pay it no mind. As I watched her stand there, terrified of this strange thing in her world, it hit me. I knew what the fan was and why it was there. I knew it wouldn't hurt Glorie and it was actually going to make her life better. To me she was being downright silly to be afraid. But then I realized I was doing the same thing. There was something God had been convicting me about with a relationship and I knew He wanted me to deal with it. But I kept putting it off because I was scared. There wasn't any legitimate reason to be afraid. But because I couldn't see the whole picture and know how things would turn out, because of pride telling me that I didn't need to expose my weakness, because I cared more about my friends' acceptance and opinions than God's, I was paralyzed from taking the step God was asking me to take. Just like Glorie refusing to enter her stall because she imagined the fan was bad and threatening. I realized I've had so many opportunities in my life to take a step of faith, and when I'm in the moment, knowing what God wants, I just stand there trembling inwardly and let the opportunity slip away, because I can't see what He sees, and I imagine that this thing is going to be too hard or too awkward or too painful. God knows all along that what He is asking is going to do me good, even though sometimes it might be painful or difficult. He knows the reward and the blessing that will come in the end, and in His perspective, it's just as pointless for me to fear as it was for Glorie to fear the fan. Glorie doesn't speak my language. She doesn't know my thoughts or intentions. She has a choice to either trust the one leading her through or past or around a scary new obstacle, or to take her life in her own hands and do whatever is necessary to get away from her fear. I have many of God's thoughts and ways in His Word, but He is so massive and awesome and so high above me that my mind can only grasp a sliver of His wisdom.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

I think this is one reason why God does not allow us to see the whole picture, but asks us to live by faith, depending on Him for guidance one step at a time, rather than trusting in ourselves to know what to do based on what we can see, feel, and understand with our limited human minds. If we could fathom how indescribably great He truly is, I believe we would see it is utter foolishness to ever distrust Him.

Several days and a lot of balking later, I took the plunge to obey what God was telling me to do. Guess what? It didn't hurt me. In fact, I experienced incredible relief and the beginning of new freedom in the area where I was struggling. I only regret that I took so long to obey. It's happened before, and I'm learning that it's not worth the doubt and fear, but I'm a long way from leaving it all behind. Thankfully, my God is for me and with me for the long haul. As long as I breathe and walk this earth, He will never stop lovingly, patiently, faithfully working to take the fear out of me.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7