Teaching Me, Training Sonia

SoniaSonia is the horse-in-residence at Refuge Ranch in Mexico, home to our daughter Julie and her family and headquarters for Fishers of Men Ministries. Sonia’s been part of the ranch for a couple of years but I’ve never spent much time working with her in the several visits we’ve made to the ranch, because I was afraid of the horse. I know, I grew up on an Iowa farm and should be comfortable around farm animals. I am, around cows and pigs and chickens. We never had a horse so I’m not familiar with how to tame and train one.

That changed significantly on the recent mission trip we led to Refuge Ranch. One of those on the trip was Stacey, who owns, trains, and rides horses. She showed me how to approach Sonia, how to let her know that the horse is not the boss, and how to make her do what a cooperative horse should do. Now that Stacey’s taught me how to train Sonia I know the horse and I are going to be good friends and that I’m going to ride her some day. She’s already warming up to me, giving a whinny when she sees me coming her way!

It’s not just in training horses that we need help, input, some direction. None of us are experts on everything and even in an area where we know quite a bit there’s always someone who knows more, from whom we can learn. The key to fulfilling God’s destiny for us is that we be teachable. God has all kinds of ways He seeks to show us more truth. He, of course, does it through His Word, the Bible, that’s why I try to read it regularly and make it the basis of what I try and communicate as a pastor and preacher. The Lord also uses other people to give us fresh insight, through their words and actions. Sometimes His insight comes from people we’re not all that fond of (God’s way of keeping us humble). Sometimes God really humbles us and teaches us through our mate! He also teaches us through our experiences (as C.S. Lewis wrote, God whispers through our pleasure and shouts through our pain). God also speaks to us by His Spirit communicating with our spirit.

I’ve come to realize I know very little that I figured out totally on my own. No one is really self-taught. In fact, the one who seeks to teach himself has a fool for a teacher!

I find it a good thing to regularly pray, “Lord, what do you want to show me in this? What do you want to teach me?”

“Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.” (Psalm 119:66)


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