In life, when we look to God for answers, sometimes the answers don’t come from our own thoughts but rather are provided for us through other means.
During our weekly hikes, there is always conversation that enlightens and inspires. But yesterday, as our journey led us along the cascading sounds of Hebron Falls, the words of my friend floated into my heart like those whispering echoes of droplets spraying against the rocks below. My hiking buddy Richard, who will turn 86 in just three months, was reflecting on how God was redirecting, changing the course of his life. He then described the feeling of slowly being stripped of all those things that had seemed so important, leaving him with a focus unlike ever before. As he spoke, he described the feeling of riding a horse bare-back – no harness, no saddle, just he and the horse.
In my mind, I could see my daughter so many years ago, riding her pony up the hill on our farm back in Chatham County. She and her steed were flying against the backdrop of the fencing that ran along the driveway. With her arms outstretched, head slightly leaning back, she was free, flying along at the top speed of her pony Sugar. The sight of them momentarily took my breath away – the instincts of a parent, momentarily froze as we say that silent prayer of protection. Together, they imparted into my soul what it was to fully trust and that sense of freedom to which it provided.
Richard’s description yesterday of being freed from all bondage of this world’s distractions, although I’m not certain that he meant distractions but possibly earthly connections, resonated within me something that I wanted to reconsider and perhaps write about. While these thoughts were bouncing around in my head, another one of God’s wonders happened.
This morning when reading as part of my daily devotional, a passage from C.S. Lewis came up. It was as if God had been listening and wanted to chime in and add to our conversation.
“To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride. There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’ Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body? These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bare-back, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world- shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else— since He has retained His own charger—should we accompany Him?”
It seems as if we can never cease to learn that God has intended for us to continually strive to understand and adapt to how we are to better serve him in this life. Learning to intentionally remove, or as in more often is the case, finding that He, through divine intervention, is slowly removing the unnecessary baggage to which we cling, we come to a greater realization of our purpose in this life. Giving it all to God literally can bring the feeling of riding a horse at full-gallop, bare-back, at the mercy of that which we cannot control.
We are saved by God’s grace, not by anything we can do of ourselves. It is through this undeserving grace that we may have eternal life. Our natural tendency is to grab onto things of this world through which we think we find comfort. When we realize that those worldly things are merely false idols, we naturally want to turn away from everything. It is this shrinking away from those things to which we are lured into sin that we must learn to control and willingly, with God’s help, learn to refuse. It is this strength within, this fortitude of character, to which we can then learn to strengthen our soul. By this conditioning of the soul, our spirit becomes enriched so that we become better horsemen, if you will. This preparation is a lifelong endeavor, enabling us to then, when our time on earth has ended, to join our Lord and Savior, at those stables on high, where together, we will ride in spiritual bodies, majestic steeds unlike any we would have known here on earth.
“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”- 1 Cor.15:44
My friend, as you read this text, my prayer for you is that God will speak into your life and open your eyes to the pathway that leads to life eternal. May you find that the Lord, once you seek Him, and he will begin to change your life. I pray that those things which once occupied all of your time and energy, those negative things to which brought no reward other than their earthly pleasures or momentary satisfaction, will begin to fall away and that in so doing, you find a greater purpose with which to live.
Prayer and supplication are the beginnings of drawing closer to the Lord. Do not make the mistake of turning away from all things spiritual when the going gets difficult. Learn to control your spiritual body so that it will continue to grow and become better horsemen of that figurative pony.
Your heavenly steed patiently awaits.
The King of all kings and his charger are ready to ride. The decision is yours to make.
Thanks be to God.
 Miracles: A Preliminary Study. Copyright 1947 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1947