The animal cringes at the back of the pen and everyday they come to feed it. And still, everyday, it cringes at the back of its stall. People have entered in from time to time only to run for their lives as the animal lunges at them, teeth bared, eyes bulging from its head.
Enter our hero.
He faces the anger of the beast with no whip, no treats. His voice is calm and his movements steady. His eyes never veer from the horse and its movements. The animal lunges at him and he deftly sidesteps and allows the animal to feel his touch. The monster pivots and lashes out with his hooves but there is nothing there for him to hit. He smashes his body up against the wall and feels the body of the person pinned there. The brute feels nothing more than a gentle touch on his back, his neck and hears again the soft voice almost singing to him of peace and love.
Within a matter of weeks the animal is calm and accepting, he is ridden and trusted and beautiful.
What changed? What let him know he could act differently?
Most people never see it, but the greatest evidence of fear is anger. The punk with no dad lashes out with a knife but he’s just scared. The mouthy girl who won’t be told what to do is terrified of what she can’t control.
So again I ask, what changed?
Hebrews 11:6 gives us a hint. “…anyone that comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.”
The horse (though an amalgam of many animals I have worked with over the years) needed to know that I was “real.” This has to do with consistency, with trust. He needed to know that, “what he saw was what he got.” And he needed to know that I was a rewarded of those who sought me. In other words, will it be good if I trust this person. I needed no treats, my voice, my kindness, my care for him was what he needed to see. He needed to know that I loved him, regardless of how he acted toward me.
I don’t want to burst any bubbles but the truth is, the whip did come. There was punishment for wrong behavior. And it was ok. He knew that I was a rewarder. He knew that I loved him.
We worship a God who is real. He can be trusted to do what He says, be what He says He will be. We worship a King who loves us and gave Himself for us.
Can we not yield our hearts to Him? Can we not give our all to Him, completely?