This month is my 5 year anniversary of being a horse owner. I am not riding as much lately as being a horse care giver. Funny thing is, I have learned more on the ground from them than I have ever learned in the saddle. We have a language. We communicate most days. The longer I spend with them the more I have learned to hear their voice clearly. If I have not seen them in a couple of days, they let me know it. They have taught me more lessons on how to be a better human. I have more patience. Thank you PenDragon, my super intelligent Arabian. I have learned that I am not a quitter as long as I dust myself off after I have been knocked down and continue to try again. Thank you Bali, my Dutch Warmblood who is magnificently built and was such a winner in the show ring. But most of all it is my rescued beautiful black Quarter Horse mare, Summer Breeze who has taught me the most. You see she was scared of everything. She was abused and a 1100 pound confused, fearful animal is very dangerous. It has taken love, leadership and learning her language plus a lot of patience but she has made amazing progress. We have made amazing progress. She use to be the hardest thing to catch in the paddock. Now, she sees me and she comes running. She is waiting for me at the gate. She tries so hard to please me when she is learning new things. Some months, it is slow progress but it is progress. My horses have taught me how to relate to another when there is a communication barrier. They truly size me up and know how I am feeling before I have ever made it to their paddock gate. There is so much for us to learn if we will take the time to study them, watch them , listen to them. They have a voice, you just have to be still enough and patience enough to hear it.
The Lord has shown me many spiritual lessons in dealing with my beloved horses. He is in the business of using our everyday things to show us His power and His glory. He uses the quiet time with the horses on many days to hear His voice. How many times through the ages have people asked, what does the voice of the Lord sound like? How do we hear it?
Samuel heard the voice of God, but did not recognize it until he was instructed by Eli to say , Yes Lord speak. When we are listening for God’s voice, we have to be close enough to him to hear him. We have the inspired Word of God, to read, study, and meditate on. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man or woman of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those who hear God’s voice are those who belong to Him—those who have been saved by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. Sheep spend countless hours with their Shepherd and they will only follow Him. If another Shepherd calls out to them they will not come to him because they do not recognize his voice. If we are to recognize God’s voice, we MUST spend time with Him.
When our team was preparing to go to Israel. We did a team building exercise. There was a big circle with lots of bouncy balls in it. There were more than twenty of us. My partner had to lead me to him through the balls without stepping on a ball or running into all the other people in the circle while I was blind folded. I could not hear his voice over everybody else’s voice trying to guide their partner’s at the same time. There were so many distractions. There is so much noise in a crowd. We kept trying and starting over with each failed attempt. All of a sudden we started making progress. I bent down, closer to the ground to get away from all of the noise above and I could hear his directions on which way to step. With each step I took, I could hear him better. I told my partner, the closer I get to you the easier it is to hear your voice so clearly. Right when I said that, I felt the Holy Spirit say , YES DARLA, you have to be close to the Lord to hear His voice, to hear His whisper. This was one of those game changing lessons for me. John 10:27 came to life for me. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Sometimes all it takes is to clear away the distractions around us to focus on His voice.
We hear His voice when we spend time in Bible study and quiet prayer time with Him. There is so much power in prayer. The more time we spend intimately with God and His Word, the easier it is to recognize His voice and His leading in our lives.
God speaks to us everyday. The question really is, are we listening for Him? Are we taking time for Him? Sometimes for me he uses my beloved horses. Sometimes it is through the Holy Spirit, through circumstances, and through other people. Most of the time it is through His word. The all powerful, all knowing , never changing word of God. If we have a question about a certain decision in our lives, we should see what the Bible has to say about it. God will never lead us contrary to what He has taught in His Word . WE CAN learn to recognize God’s voice. I encourage you to take the time that it takes. The benefits are outstanding. Psalms 103:2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his BENEFITS.