Psalm 32:8-9 says: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”
As I spent some time meditating on this verse and its meaning, a whole scene began to play out in my mind. At first, God simply begins leading me beside still waters and into green pastures. In a quiet voice He says “Rest, eat, drink”. Although I enjoy this, it is hard for me to rest. I know it is my God in the saddle, and I am chomping at the bit (literally) to take Him wherever He would let me.
I turn my head around to face Him, as if to say “I’m ready! Where do You want to go?” I fully expect Him to say “To the mountains!” or “To the sea!” Or perhaps He will show me a map of where our journey together will take us.
And that’s when it hits me: I’m a horse! A horse can’t understand a map a human has drawn. I remember riding horses as a girl when we lived in Arizona. I knew the direction I wanted to go on my rides and what I wanted to see, but never once did I make a map and show it to the horse!
I wouldn’t expect a horse to have that level of understanding. I didn’t even tell the horse what my itinerary was. And yet I would not expect the horse to be frustrated or angry if it didn’t know the length and direction of our journey in advance. As we’d leave the stable, I would gently guide it where I wanted it to go.
God is like that with us. Even though we are created in His image, He is so far above us in wisdom and power that we could not possibly understand from His perspective, the plans He has for us. If He were to show us a map as He maps out lives, we would not be able to discern its meaning in human terms. But we can be assured that He has a good plan for each of us. We can know without a doubt that from His perspective on high, He knows what is in our best interest, and we can trust Him.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 assures us that He has a plan for us: a prosperous and protective plan, full of hope and with our best future at its heart. These verses also assure that He hears us when we call on Him in prayer and that He is accessible when we seek Him with all of our hearts.
So when God tells me to rest, eat and drink, I had better do that. He knows what is ahead and knows what I need to be doing. I can trust that He has planned our journey and is preparing me for it now.
He doesn’t promise to tell each of us what the plan is or spell it out in terms we can understand in advance, but like our horse, He will guide us in the right direction. And we will reach the destinations along our way if we will but attend to and yield to His hands on our reins.
Read the verse again, out loud, and ask God to speak to you through it. Imagine that you are that fast horse, or a stubborn mule like in the Psalm, and picture the LORD gently and lovingly putting the bit in your mouth and the bridle over your head. Feel the reins in His hands and be responsive to them.