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.