I admit it, I am a person who loves horses. Famous Lipizzaners, 4-H horses or back yard ponies, they are all beautiful to me and have been a source of joy for as long as I can remember. Our family has had a number of horses over the years, but the most remarkable horse is undoubtedly one named Minki.
Minki is extremely smart and clever, always eager to perform something old or learn something new. He is a fast learner, loves people and happily comes to the gate when he is called by name. But when he hears one specific voice—that of his mistress--he comes at a run, making happy horse-noises. When he sees the bridle, unlike other horses that turn and scamper away, Minki still eagerly comes to his owner and willingly accepts the bit. He is an unusual and exceptional horse.
The bond between this young lady and her horse is something special and very apparent: together they won numerous competitions and awards from coaches and team mates including ‘Most Inspirational’ team member and ‘MVP’. The invisible communication between horse and rider made competitions look effortless, which inspired other riders who often ‘borrowed’ Minki in an effort to win a blue ribbon. Their results were never nearly as impressive, as his owner could get the same award-winning results without so much as a saddle, bridle or even a halter. Their connection was not dependent on traditional horse-rider communication mechanisms or the rider’s physical control. It was a willing, cooperative partnership between to individual beings working together as one unit.
How did this young lady get her horse so tuned in to her desires? The short answer is by spending time together. This young lady spent time with her horse every day without fail. They spent many, many hours together. During those hours, Minki learned to understand subtle shifts in his rider’s posture, a flexing of a leg muscle, the slightest nudge from her knee or the way she stood and held her hands. She learned to ‘read’ Minki’s movements. They have learned to move as one, Minki’s feet and body carrying out the desires of his rider. I have never worked with another horse like Minki who is so tuned in to his Mistress. He is constantly flicking his ears and demonstrating his interest in his owner’s most minute cue or communication. Their teamwork is mesmerizing to watch.
In many ways, I strive to be like Minki. His connection with his owner is a lot like a born-again child-of-God who is led in perfect union with the Holy Spirit. As a believer, this invisible sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit is the key to the victorious life Jesus died to give us. But like Minki and his mistress, this kind of connection only comes by spending a lot of time together.
Jesus set the example with many nights spent alone in prayer; the apostles followed, some more than others and so on as the message spread. Through the years, much of the church world has evolved into more programs, music, various teachings and outreach endeavors. But the thing that worked for Jesus, and the believers in the upper room, and at Azusa Street has never changed: time with the Master through the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit in prayer. It is in prayer that we learn to hear and recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice and gentle leading.
What I have learned
1. Know my Master and the goodness of being in the His presence (John 17:3)
2. Be willing and eager to learn--the Master teaches me good things (Psalm 25:12, 32:8, 71:17)
3. Listen and obediently follow directions (2 John 1:6)
4. Always believe the Master has something good for me (Jeremiah 29:11)
5. Thoroughly enjoy the Master's gifts, treats and benefits (Psalm 103:1-5)
6. We always win when we do the Master's bidding (Romans 8:37)
Romans 1:20 says God’s invisible qualities are seen in nature so there is no excuse not to know Him. Appreciating God’s creation is one of the best ways to learn about God, and a great excuse to spend time with a horse.