What Horses Taught Me About Trust


What Horses Taught Me About Trust

It’s a warm spring day and I’m leading an eager, but cautious, Herman into the round pen (a circular enclosure used for training horses) at Timber Ridge Ranch. Herman is the newest addition to the horses at the ranch and infection from human negligence has left him blind in both eyes. As I was grooming and saddling him earlier he was a little unsure of what was going on but with some reassurance he stood still and soaked in the attention. Leading him over to the mounting block and climbing the steps, I exhaled a prayer, thanking God for bringing such a precious animal to us and praying that he would trust me enough to climb on his back and teach him from there.

At Timber Ridge Ranch rescued horses are paired with people in tough life situations and healing happens on both ends as they work together. I’m working with Herman to deepen the trust he has with people which will be crucial in his interactions with the broken souls he will meet. I really am asking a lot of him though. I’m asking him to stand still as I put my foot in the stirrup and swing onto his back. I’m asking him to allow me to control all of the movements of his feet. I’m asking him to let me be his eyes, so that I may keep him from accidents like bumping into the fence. I’m asking him to trust me, even though he can’t see me and he can’t see the obstacles ahead.

Trust, by definition, is to firmly believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

Sometimes trust is really hard for me. Unintentionally, I often find myself worrying and stressing over an issue, usually trying to solve the problem myself. It’s not that I don’t believe in God, I wholeheartedly do, but sometimes my thoughts and actions expose that I don’t always believe God.  It is my distrust in the Almighty that causes the knot in my stomach some mornings as I feel the crushing weight of my human incapability. The journey of trust is one that is dependent on my willingness to hope in Him, as opposed to rationalizing it with my own thinking.

Not trusting what God says comes in a lot of forms. It shows up when I worry and Scripture says “...do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). It appears when I’m afraid and God tells me to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). It pokes it’s ugly head out when I’m trying to control my future instead of looking to God for directions -- “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8).

The truth is: I forget often how interested God is in the little details of my life. That He cares about the number of hairs on my head, where I work, and what I’m doing on the weekend. That He loves me and is always with me.

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” -Zephaniah 3:17

Read it again. He is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He takes great delight in you. He celebrates you with singing. Can He be trusted? Absolutely.

Herman chose to trust me that day. He chose to have faith in me even though he couldn't see the path ahead. That thousand pound animal with the capability of doing whatever he wanted chose my way instead of his own. The beautiful thing about horses is that the more time you spend with them the deeper the trust becomes. That’s the way it is with our relationships with God.

The only way to fight the battle of independency is to constantly submerge ourselves in His truth. Read your Bible every morning, write Bible verses on your bathroom mirror or on the visor in your car. You must believe that in the round pen of life your heart is being pursued.

Satan who would like you to trust in yourself, to figure things out on your own. He tries to convince you to trust in perishable things like money or people. At the same time, you're being sought after by God, the one who unconditionally loves you and intimately knows you.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13

The Mighty Warrior is pursuing your heart; He wants you to trust Him.

He promises that He will take care of everything if you let Him guide your feet and be your eyes. Step by step we can trust Him with the path for our lives, even if we are blind to what the future may hold.

// photo by sandra hagelstam