Submit yourselves, then, to God ... (James 4:7, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Of all of the activities ten-year-old Miriam enjoyed, she loved riding her horse, Charlie, the best. He had a sleek chestnut mane, well-defined muscular legs, and a fierce strong will to match. Miriam felt powerful and self-assured when controlling this massive animal-except when he caught a glimpse of the barn. Whenever Miriam and Charlie returned from a jaunt in the woods, as soon as they got close enough for him to see the barn, he bolted homeward, forcing Miriam to hang on to the reins for dear life.
One day Miriam's riding instructor witnessed this strong-willed animal taking control of his master.
"Miriam!" she called out. "You cannot let that animal control you in that manner! Bring that horse back out of the barn this instant."
Dutifully, Miriam mounted Charlie and led him a distance away from the stalls.
"Now, when you turn around and Charlie sees the barn and begins to run toward it," the wiser, older woman instructed, "pull the reins all the way to the right. Do not let him go forward."
On cue, Miriam steered her horse toward the stalls. On cue, he bolted.
"Turn him! Turn him!" the instructor shouted.
Young Miriam pulled the reins to the right as hard as she could until the horse's head was inches away from touching his right shoulder. Charlie fought her with the force of a war horse. Round and round the horse and rider circled.
"Don't let go," the instructor shouted. "You must break his will!"
After ten long minutes, Charlie stopped circling, and Miriam stopped pulling him to the right. Miriam gently tapped his flanks, and he slowly walked toward the stable. She had broken his will, and he now obeyed his master's touch.
Have you ever felt that you are going in circles? Perhaps God is trying to break some old habit patterns in your life to help you become more adept at sensing His gentle nudges and tender tugging. Perhaps He is trying to steer you in the different direction other than bolting to the familiar. It's an amazing ride when you yield your will to the Master and travel the path He leads.
Dear Lord, so many times I see myself in Miriam's horse. I bolt to what is familiar rather than submit to You. Help me to follow Your lead, submit to Your guidance, and walk at the pace You set.
In Jesus' name,