The Hoof Print
Horse News. Christian Living. Equine Education
The Christian Equestrian's Literary "Stamp" in Type
I always dislike giving a horse an injection. Even when I know that I'm just doing my best to care for them, I flinch just as badly as the horse does when I hold up the glittering silver needle. At least my bay gelding makes it easy for me. Shots often involve a couple of forefeet waving around my head, but Thunder has never reared in his life. I grit my teeth, rub his neck to make sure he is nicely relaxed, and push the needle deep into the neck muscle. He stiffens briefly, turns one of his giant, liquid eyes to look at me.
“It's okay, buddy. It's going to make you feel better.”
The gelding can't understand what I'm saying, but the tone of my voice reassures him. He gives a deep, low sigh and then relaxes. In a few seconds, the injection is over and I softly rub his neck to soothe the worst of the sting. Because his muscle was so relaxed, I know that in a few minutes there will be no pain at all, nor any soreness tomorrow morning. And in a few hours, the anti-inflammatory I gave him will have eased the mild lameness in his foreleg.
As I cover the needle and unbuckle his halter, I can't help but marvel at the way our horses trust us. We all know how nasty shots are, but we humans – at least after we're ten years old or so – hold still for our injections because we know they're for our own good. But Thunder has no way of knowing that the medicine will make him better. It would make logical sense for him to fight me when he feels the sting of the needle; I am supposed to be his herdmate, but I'm hurting him for no reason that he can understand. Yet I don't even need someone to hold him while I give him the shot. His lead rein just hangs loosely over my elbow while both my hands are busy with the syringe.
Thunder doesn't know what the sharp stinging pain is for, but there is one thing he does know: I am his leader, and in the four years of his life, he knows that I have acted for his good. Not in every situation – I am imperfect; man, not God – but in enough situations that the big gelding has decided that he can trust me. It only takes my voice or my touch to soothe him because I have become his safe place. He will let me hurt him because he trusts me to help him, and because he knows that I outrank him and therefore know better than he does what he needs to survive.
There is something for us to learn from Thunder and the millions of other horses that trust us. Just as humans cause horses a few seconds' pain in order to help them heal, God sometimes allows painful things to happen to us in order to bring us closer to Him and to the people He created us to be. A parting, a disease, an injury, a rejection, a loss – there is so much in the world that can hurt us. And pain is nothing to be ashamed of; Jesus Himself knew it well. He bled, wept and sweated blood. It's how we handle the pain that matters.
Some young horses will get up on their hindlegs and fight for their lives when anyone approaches with a needle. Usually they are the ones who have some bruising or swelling after the shot because their muscles were tense, or they jerked away and caused the needle to move slightly in the muscle. Sometimes it proves impossible to inject them at all and they end up having to suffer for longer with whatever injury or illness we are trying to cure. And many times we react in the same way to the tribulations we are subject to; we fight God, crying out against Him, demanding how He could possibly let this happen to us. In the meantime, He knows that this brief pain, this tempering of a sword in the fire, is only going to make us better, make us happier, make us stronger and nearer to Him in the long run.
God allows us to feel pain not because He hates us, but because He loves us and wants to heal us. If we will relax and trust His beautiful plan and make no attempt to fight against Him, then He will heal us and help us. Even the pain itself will not be as bad as it would if we fought Him. And He is there for us, to reassure us when we are hurting, to hold us close when we think we can no longer bear it. We are not stronger than we think. We are much weaker than we think. But the mighty God inside us is stronger than anything, and makes us unconquerable.
So next time we're hurting and we want to demand why He would be so unjust as to hurt those who follow Him, remember the bay gelding who stands so still to have his shots, and trust God. Relax, fix your eyes upon Him, and trust the King Who loves you. Glory to the King.
Final Post on "Twelve Things to Do When You are Rejected"
Rebekah L. Holt
There are so many ways that we experience rejection in life. The environments of family, employment, church, dating/courting and social circles all provide the backdrop of some the most painful experiences caused by human rejection. Christians might be resigned to expecting the world’s rejection. But what about when fellow Christians are the ones to reject us? Christ did not promise His followers exemption from sorrows in earthly life. What He did promise is that all our needs would be met, including: help, comfort, wisdom, guidance, strength, grace, healing and HOPE!
So when we find ourselves rejected of men, what is our response to be? Here’s a few quick points for what to do when you are rejected:
- Give it to the Lord.
- Go to the Bible. Read Part One
- Remember Christ was Rejected.
- Recall that God is Sovereign.
- Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
- Realize Your Identity Before God.
- Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! Read Part Three
- Resist the Attitudes!
- Be Humble.
- Forgive. Read Part Four
11. Wait on the Lord for Strength, Renewal and Healing. God has promised to renew the strength of His followers (Is. 40:31). He warns us not to grow weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9). Before doing anything rash—wait on the Lord (Ps. 27:14). It is often through tough times that some Christians “call it quits” and selfishly consider their ways better than their Creator’s. Sadly many Christians have fallen away from the ways of Christ and rejected Him because it “didn’t work out like they wanted.” They think God failed them instead of realizing that God is a Faithful God that is an Ever Present Help in trouble (Deut. 7:9; Ro. 8:18-39). Any true athlete knows that in order to build muscle, you go through strenuous, consistent training and exercise. Those that quit the training course prematurely will never achieve their full potential in skill or development. They may never finish the course or win the race. The same goes for those that fall away when following Christ presents a tough route. Stay faithful to Him. Wait on the Lord. Trust Him. He can pull us out of a horrible pit and set our feet on a rock (Ps. 40). God is a God of Salvation (Ps. 68:20)! Those that are faithful to waiting on God’s perfect timing can testify that God is true to His word and does restore perfectly (Deut. 7:9; Jn. 3:33). Seeing God work is worth waiting for. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Pe. 5:10).
12. While "Standing and Waiting," Get Busy With What’s Under Your Nose. The Bible tells us that when all is done, to stand (Ep. 6:13). Part of that “standing” is doing what’s under your nose. God has made us for work. Regardless of the situation, there’s going to be something in the “here and now” for us to do. It may be wiping window sills, putting up decorations, washing the car, taking out the trash or entering in information on an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever is on your plate—get up and do it. No one is going to do your work like you can. God has given you something to do now. An older woman once told me, “Keep in a routine. Discipline your life. Sweat if possible!” Above all, keep anchored on the promises of God. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows our situations—every detail. He can make all things new (Rev. 21:5). He is the Master Creator; Our Savior, Provider, Redeemer and Friend. As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2 Pe. 1:3). For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God… (Ec. 9:1). Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).
Thank you to all who have provided feedback on this article series. The Word of God is living and applicable to our lives. RLH
It's Holiday Season--a holly, jolly time of year! But likely someone's out there having to heal up due to experiencing rejection.
We're Christians. We love God's people. We expect that those professing Christ will accept us. But sometimes even professed Christians are capable of rejecting and disregarding others by their not allowing God to fully work in their lives. Leaders in the Church or in Bible based Christian organizations are very capable of brushing off the people God brings to them as did the pharisees to Christ.
Christ came to the very ones that said they were waiting for the Messiah. Because Christ came not in the "package" they wanted, most of these religious leaders rejected Him.
What do we do when we find ourselves rejected even by fellow Christians or strong Biblical leaders? How do we handle being scoffed at by a Sunday School teacher? How do we keep from sinning ourselves in being the receipients of what Christ experienced?
What is the Christian response to rejection?
Continued from "Twelve Things to Do When You are Rejected"
Rebekah L. Holt
1. Give it to the Lord. Read Part One
2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One
3. Remember Christ was Rejected. Read Part Two
4. Recall that God is Sovereign. Read Part Two
5. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
6. Realize Your Identity Before God. What does God think of you? A human’s rejection can make us feel very worthless and meaningless. Even when we know we belong to Christ, humans tend to make us feel horrible about who we are. Know what God says about His people. When we confess ourselves as Christ’s followers, we are:
- God’s child (John 1:12)
- Bought with a price and belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
- Chosen and adopted by God (Eph. 1:3-8)
- Redeemed and forgiven of all our sins because of Christ ( Col. 1:13-14)
- Made complete in Christ (Col. 2:9-10)
- A Citizen of Heaven to Come (Phil. 3:20)
- God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
- Free from condemnation (Ro. 8:1-2)
(Read more from the beautiful scriptural outline: “Who I Am in Christ.”)
7. Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! In today’s world even some Christians and Christian leaders have cashed into many hollow “self-oriented” counterfeits to putting “shoe leather” to whole heartedly trusting, obeying and waiting on the Lord. After bad things happen, many people (professed “Christians” included) look for quick, temporary solutions of comfort. It is shocking how many seek comfort through eating, drinking (getting drunk), doing drugs, having a self-induced “problem” that can be labeled, drugged and pampered with therapy or medication, getting a new physical “image,” going on a spending spree, committing fornication, choosing to be a homosexual, abandoning a family, getting a divorce, aborting a child, casting off responsibility, etc. Very popular today, there are “over wrought and stressed” Christians that are turning to the Hindu entrenched Yoga or the practices of Buddhism or some type of Eastern religious method of “redirecting”. We see many seeking counsel or comfort with self-interest (how can I please myself?) at the core. To sum-it-all-up, they go on a binge of self-gratification or just trying to get out from under the pressure of a tough situation. Such “man-made-efforts” ultimately lead to sin or actions that are blatantly an abomination to God! It has been falsely said, If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love others. Christ said that if we want to follow Him, we will deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him (Mt. 16:24). He told us that if we love Him, we will do what He says (John 14:15). When we are focused on self, we hurt or neglect others too in the process of pleasing ourselves. Thus, we become as the very people who rejected and hurt us.
The Bible has told us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind (Mark 12:30). We are warned not to seek after the world’s methods for deliverance (Is. 30:1-2). Jesus has told us that our situations are real and that He will help us! God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1).By seeking the world’s method of overcoming, we will find ourselves deluded and still in bondage. Seek Christ; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6)! One of His ways of “redirecting” our sorrows or hurts is to give to and serve others. Our needs are going to be met even when we are giving out to someone else’s needs. It may seem or feel like we’re being overlooked, but God is faithful and truly concerned about us. God has our lives in His Hands. We are not capable of changing most circumstances surrounding someone’s choice to reject us. However, we are capable of not rejecting God’s methods or His truth that is free to us. And we are capable of not rejecting the people He wants us to serve. If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Is. 58:10-11).
There are so many ways that we experience rejection in life. The environments of family, employment, church, dating/courting and social circles all provide the backdrop of some the most painful experiences caused by human rejection. Christians might be resigned to expecting the world’s rejection. But what about when fellow Christians are the ones to reject us? Christ did not promise His followers exemption from sorrows in earthly life. What He did promise us is all our needs to be met, including: help, comfort, wisdom, guidance, strength, grace, healing and HOPE!
So when we find ourselves rejected of men, what is our response to be? Here’s a few quick points for what to do when you are rejected:
- Give it to the Lord. It is upsetting to be rejected. It hurts! It’s unjust! How could they? Why did this happen to me? We ask these questions. We seek comfort or justice. The Bible tells us to cast our cares upon the Lord. Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved (Ps. 55:2).Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Despite the emotions of the moment, slow down and first pray. Tell the Lord about the details and ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5). Be careful to first abandon your thoughts, worries, hurts and struggles to the Lord. Let Him give you His thoughts! He is the Wonderful Counselor (Is. 9:6). For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (He. 4:15).
- Go to the Bible. Let your situation be a catalyst to seeking Truth. Fill your mind with God’s Word. The Bible tells us that if we seek God we find Him (Jer. 29:12-13). We cannot find our way out of the valley without God’s Lamp to guide us (Ps. 119: 105). Go over what God has promised and make a list.
For starters, remember that God has promised:
From: "Twelve Things to Do When You Are Rejected - Rebekah L. Holt
Photograph from the public domain
All flowing, fiery curves, the gelding charges across the grass, his ears pricked as the next giant obstacle looms before him. A solid wall standing 1.60m high, it’s a jump that would daunt most horses and petrify most riders – but not this one. The horse seems to take the height as a challenge, and his rider urges him on in the final strides before he tucks up his front legs and leaps. With a flick of his tail, he clears it with a grace that makes it look easy.
Spectators watch with bated breath, listening to the beat of the bay gelding’s hooves as he heads towards the privet hedge. He seems confident, his rider pushing him on and turning him sharply into the fence, but there’s a slight stammer in the rhythm of his feet and he jumps awkwardly. Horseflesh thumps on wood. With a rattle and a thump, the rail falls and the crowd groans. But for the horse and rider, there is no time for dismay. They’re headed straight for the Devil’s Dyke, a jump they’ve already knocked down once today. If they don’t clear it, the competition is lost.
The rider encourages his horse with every stirring of his legs against the gelding’s sides, desperate to make it, but the horse doesn’t hesitate. He tosses up his head and charges, the power of his strides screaming his refusal to make the same mistake again. Giant muscles bunch under his sleek coat and he leaps. Hearts stop, and for a moment the horse seems to float above the high rail over the ditch of water as he attempts to clear both in one leap.
And he does.
The crowd roars. The horse plunges joyously away from the newly conquered obstacle and now there is no stopping him. Fence after mighty fence are left behind; he eats up the ground, swinging left, then right at the expert guidance of his rider. At last, he gallops through the finish and all eyes turn to the board where their time will be displayed: 85.17 seconds. 0.02 seconds faster than their closest competition. As the horse slows to a triumphant trot, his rider falls on his neck, hugging him, rejoicing.
Later, they stand in the winner’s circle, accepting the beautiful trophy that tells the world that Irishman Trevor Breen and the Belgian warmblood Adventure de Kannan have just won the British Jumping Derby, informally known as the Hickstead Derby, arguably the most prestigious single showjumping event in the world. Draped with flowers and showered with applause, the gelding stands proudly beside his rider. Every inch of him glows; his bay coat shines copper in the sun, muscles filling his outline with power. He is perfect in every way, except for one thing. As he turns his head from side to side, only one bright brown eye looks out of his noble face. On the other side, there is nothing – just a dark and empty socket where his right eye should be.
Interviewers ask Trevor Breen what it is that makes Adventure de Kannan so special. How did he become the first one-eyed horse ever to win the Derby?
Breen doesn’t miss a beat. “His heart,” he says instantly. According to him, it was Adventure de Kannan’s courage, will to win, and willingness to do anything his rider asks of him that makes him “a phenomenal horse, the horse of a lifetime”. Talented as he is, “Addy” would never have made it through all the setbacks that he did – losing his eye to surgery following an infection in 2013, an injured suspensory ligament not long afterwards, and a kick in the warmup ring only the previous day – without his inner qualities.
It is proven once again that it’s heart, above all else, that makes a truly special horse.
This is true not only for horses. How many of us know of people we deem more beautiful than we are? And upon what do we base our assumptions? We allow ourselves to feel inferior to people who are thinner or richer or better dressed than we are, people with the right hairdo and the right skin tone and the right job and the right education, without realising that we are all beautiful – fearfully and wonderfully made by the love of God (see Psalm 139:14). And it is more than just physical beauty or great circumstances that makes one special. For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Deeper things than beauty or opportunities make one special. Meekness, faith, gentleness, courage, kindness, hope, love above all – anything that is a part of Jesus’s perfect example to us – these are what really matter. The truest beauty of a human being lies in a redeemed soul filled with Jesus Christ.
Just like Adventure de Kannan, whose guts and generosity helped him to win the Hickstead Derby despite his scars, his handicap and the disfigurement of that gaping hole in his face, you can triumph over any obstacle that stands in your way, by the grace of God. He will fill you with everything you need not only to survive, but to thrive. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Matthew 7:7). You can do all things through Christ, your strength (Philippians 4:13).
Glory to the King.