As Clue, my new pony, kicked up his heels and ran away, I was acutely aware that I had broken my rule of taking the time it takes. Clue has a history that I must learn without using language. I do not know and cannot know through words what he has experienced. I must read that from his body language – so eloquent if I take the time to read it. Now, as he escaped, I realized I had pushed him to fast and to far.
I purchased the pony for my granddaughters. I wanted him to be ready to ride when they come for a visit in a few weeks. I let that pressure take my focus off this little animal’s needs and trust. So as I trudged over the acres to restore the relationship there were some bitter pills to swallow.
It made me think of my relationship with Our Lord. We have an icon above our altar at church that was painted by a saintly Romanian sister. It is Jesus breaking the bread at the last supper. In His hands are the two halves of the loaf, broken, as soon His body would be upon the Cross. I fancied one time Him asking me how much bread I wanted. “All of it,” I replied. Typical of my headlong Christian walk to want a lot more than I can handle. But more importantly, the correct response should have been “whatever You want to give me”.
When I allow pressures or impatience to cloud my judgment, I become blind. I no longer see the fear in the horse’s eye, that his ears are telling me to get back, that he lunges forward to move me out of his space. I forget to take things slowly and to appreciate what the animal is bringing to the table. Sure I can muscle a horse, especially little Clue. But if I am to give him a say in the process, I must give him all the time it takes. Expediency nullifies the relationship aspect. Clue becomes a thing to be processed and not a partner to be gained.
God can muscle me. I can think of God muscling me to perfection. But I am far off the mark if I look at Him this way. Being a relationship Himself, the Lord is not about efficiency but surrender. It is about whatever You want to give me Lord. I absolutely trust in your timetable. Jesus’ own life was always full of surrender. Jesus was very clear that He came to do the Father’s Will. He didn’t lose focus. He wasn’t impatient or anxious because He surrendered and trusted.
There is something electric about having a relationship with an animal. As the human I have the responsibility to teach but more to understand. When I impose my time schedule I lose respect for this special friend. I say, in fact, I don’t care what you are feeling – do what I am telling you to do. And do it now. Any horse person will chuckle a bit and tell you that all you get from that attitude it time lost. When I respect the horse’s contribution to the relationship, it is incredible to see the surrender – willing surrender – and right after that the lesson learned. He licks his lips – a sure sign that he is comfortable and trusting.
I am so grateful that God takes the time it takes to bring me closer to Him. He respects the person He made me. He is willing to take the time to bring me incrementally into wisdom and service. And of course, God has perfect timing. If you ever want to reflect on God’s timing, look back on your life. When I remember my fifty six years I see two things: that surrender has been a process and He has never doubted that I will arrive.
Clue stood in the field, ears pricked forward, as I approached. I could see in his eyes that there was a breach of trust. I offered my hand and my apologies. He came forward.