Then Jesus told him,“You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” John 20:29
It's a beautiful thing to see my daughter work with her horse Charlie. Looking through the pictures her shutterbug sister snapped this week, I was intrigued by photos of her with the horse blindfolded.
"What's with the blind fold?"
Her response was interesting.
"I need him to learn to respond to direction from me without having to see what I'm doing."
Mistreated as a colt, Charlie has always been very skittish, set to fleeing by the slightest rustle. Even though nearly a decade has passed, he doesn't trust many people to keep him safe, because it was people who hurt him.
Katie has worked patiently and gently to earn his trust. Like a puppy, Charlie loves her and is fairly willing to obey her. However, she realized over a few sessions that he is not "feeling" her commands, such as a slight leaning in one direction before a turn. Instead, he will not move until he can see the actual movement of the reins in her hands executing the "turn" command.
When she is not riding on him, he sticks like glue to her side rather than heeding her directions to stay put. It's as if his trust depends upon his ability to lay eyes on her.
Hence the blindfold. Her thinking is that if he cannot see, the horse will be forced to use his other senses to connect with her--to extend his trust in her to uncertain situations.
I'm no horse whisperer; I have no idea if what she's doing will work.
I do, however, see quite a bit of myself in that skittish horse.
I love Jesus and I trust Him completely.
But not always in practice.
Instead of obeying His subtle prompts, I hesitate and wait until I can see clear movement. I want to see what He is doing before I follow.
Katie's teaching tactic with Charlie stirs me because it feels so very familiar.
Lately I have been feeling a bit like a flighty horse out on an unfamiliar trail on a windy day. Unknown things are flying at me and I'm not sure which is the direction to safety. To make matters worse, instead of showing me the way to go, it seems that God is BLINDFOLDING me!
But looking at pictures of my girl with that scared, blindfolded horse, I had the most beautiful A-HA moment. It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps the Lord has put on me a blindfold so that He can remove a veil. My ability to see is hindering my ability to KNOW.
What I SEE when I am not blindfolded are my circumstances, and they are rather unsettling.
I have a hunch that God's intent in blindfolding me is not to make me less secure, but to keep me from bolting. He can't lead me very effectively if my head is whipping around frantically looking for all the real and imagined threats about me.
The blindfold stills me and forces me to rely on senses other than sight. Blindfolded, I can't guide myself-- so I must listen and feel for the guidance that is there, but which I cannot see. I have to learn to rely on what I KNOW of Him.
Like Katie with the horse, He may have removed my ability to see Him for a time, but He has not removed His presence from my life. I must learn to trust Him on a deeper level and learn a new, closer, more dependent, but ultimately much safer way of following Him.
This glimpse He gave me today is a beginning. I feel now not terrified by my inability to see, but calmed. I cannot see the way to go, but I can trust the One who leads.
As I learn to follow and know without seeing, I find sweet rest.
I remember as a new believer sitting at
camp and listening to the dramatic story of a girl rescued by Christ
from drug addiction.
My own story seemed so dull in
What I didn't realize was that my
salvation was just as miraculous as hers, because on my own I am just
as prone to wandering and addiction. (We all are.)
During my twenties, because I didn't
fill my soul with nourishment from His word, I searched for
satisfaction in ways that led me away from Him. In the process, I
added plenty of color to my story:
the color of mud.
Sometimes I slipped into muddy pits as the result of carelessness, and other times I dove right in.
In the process, I found
that there is nothing more dull and unsatisfying than a life apart
from the Creator. That “dull” story I had at age 15 proved to be
the exciting one!
Fortunately, Mother Teresa was right
when she said: There is no pit so deep that the love of God cannot
One day after years of empty searching
and pit dwelling, I found myself driving along a highway near the
Canadian border with my new baby. Out of the blue, I began sobbing
for the closeness I had lost with my Savior. I had wandered so far
from Him that I had to confess to Him:
“I don't even know if You are real
All He wanted was for me to recognize
it, to admit it.
He slowly crafted my storyline in a
new direction—one that was headed back to Him.
Today, the baby who was with me that
day is now a beautiful 18-year-old woman, and I delight in the story
that Jesus has woven out of even my mess. He truly pulled me out of
a pit, washed me clean and restored me. Mine is a story that is an absolute miracle
My prayer, however, is that my children
would grasp the truth that one need not go into a pit to be rescued
I pray that they will realize what I
missed: that a life that trusts the Creator ends up avoiding pits.
And that is the most exciting
rescue story of all.
Here's a fun exercise I stumbled across. Five-minute Friday (see the link on the side). Each week there is a prompt and the challenge is to just write for five minutes.
Dance--what a great word with which to begin this exercise!
The college I attended, Montana State University, had an unwritten rule that no student could graduate without knowing how to dance. Not just any dance, mind you, only the cowboy jitterbug would do.
Friend after friend tried to teach me the fast-paced and complicated (but FUN) dance. No luck.
Until Eric. He was my brother-in-law's best friend, a handsome cowboy who towered over me. The four of us went a-shuffling one night and lo and behold, I could dance!
Because of his expertise and the considerable difference in size, all I had to do to look expert was give my hands to Eric and relax.
Back and forth, around and around, he flipped me up and over and through some very impressive maneuvers. Yee haw!
I looked like a pro because I was letting him lead.
Other times I danced with different partners only to find I had two left feet, which trampled them to pieces. (Who knew such a small woman could stomp that hard?)
Turns out, I could only dance with Eric.
With him, I was a regular cowgirl Ginger Rogers. Without him, I was a clumsy clod. Making a dancer out of me required someone who knew the dance and was strong enough to carry me.
I think of that dance often as I stumble through this life, struggling to live in a way that honors God. I can get so caught up in pleasing and performing that I miss every step and stomp on people's hearts.
Then Jesus reminds me, "Without me, you can't dance, remember? Give me your hands, trust me, and let me lead."