Once upon a time, I used to ride and train horses. End story.
Why would I end it there? Because that was years and years ago. Lately, God has had me on a different assignment. But, God has known my heart all along. He put a love for horses in me when he built me. But, I also needed to let them go for a season.
Well, it appears I am entering a new season in life. One with less diapers and more bridles. This spring, we bought a horse for me. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve had a horse to call my own. And this is not just any horse, by-in-large this is my dream horse: A four-year-old off track Thoroughbred.
I have always loved Thoroughbreds. They just have a nobility and strength about them that I am just drawn to. So, when this guy popped up on craigslist a few months ago, I felt that indescribable tug at my heart. But, I wasn’t sure he was really for me. After all, I had been in the midst of a completely different season of life. But, I prayed the simple prayer, “Lord, if it is within your will. Please?”
Well, apparently it was within His will. I was able to bring this big boy home and it has been both wonderful and deeply hard at the same time. Because, my skills as a rider are, “Once upon a time…” and I feel I haven’t fully caught up with where I need to be today to really help this horse.
God is so good though, because He is doing something by which I am astounded every day. You see, when I first got this horse (by-the-way, his name is RockIt,) I was kind of thinking of him as a little drop of blessing just for me. You know, that little window of sunshine that you just know God let you see on an otherwise stormy day. And so he has been. But God’s ways are always so much more succinct than mans, aren’t they?
Through this experience I am learning something so deep that even I had no idea the need existed. I’m learning about “Thorn’s in the flesh.” Which might sound a bit weird to you.
Please let me explain:
I would guess we’ve all probably read Paul’s exhortation to the church in Corinth, reminding them that if they are going to boast, they should boast not in what they can do, but in what they can’t. Because God is glorified more when we are weak, than when we are strong, right?
I’ll just let you read it for yourself:
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~2 Corinthians 12:1-10 [emphasis mine]
You see, I’ve lived a lot of years on the memory of when I was strong. When I used to be able to ride and train horses with such confidence. But, today? Today, I lack confidence in my ability and I realize that due to lack of time to exercise it, my timing is quite rusty. Therefore, I often have this overwhelming sense of frustration and just feel really weak.
This might not be your typical “thorn in the flesh” but it is teaching me something. That even though I am not as strong as I was, perhaps, in my weakness I can learn to rest more in God’s grace, in this area, and in so many other areas of my life. Because, in my weakness, what I do accomplish can be used to glorify the One by whose power I was able to accomplish anything at all. Sure, I can ask that God take away the hard stuff, or give me supernatural power to overcome a situation. He certainly could choose to do that. But, if He doesn’t? I can at least rest in the fact that I am still under His all sufficient grace. And whether it takes me a month or 10 years to accomplish something with this horse, I hope that all you will see is how God has worked in me, though I am so very weak.