“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” — Hebrews 11:1
Equestrian events don’t often make the news unless it’s something like the Kentucky Derby or any of the other Triple Crown races. But there are countless other events that take place year-round and across the world that have riders and their horses busy traveling and competing. The Summer Olympics every four years are one of the few times people get a look at what such events are actually like.
During the Tokyo Games a few months ago, I got a chance to see some of the equestrian coverage and really enjoyed it, especially the cross-country event. Much like cross-country running, this particular event is based on time through the course, each horse and rider acquiring time penalties that affect placement if they go over the allotted amount. It’s important for the rider to pace their horse so that the speed is consistent throughout and they don’t either go out too quickly and run out of steam or have to push the pace toward the end in order to get through.
But one thing that really fascinated me about the course is the fact that there is no walk-through for the horse ahead of time. The rider has familiarized themself with it a little, but the horse has no idea what’s coming. All they can do is trust the rider. One of the commentators made an interesting remark to this point: “[The] horses have no idea what’s in store for them. It’s a real leap of faith.”
I was struck by the metaphor for life because we are very much like the horses. We have not been given a preview of what’s to come. We do not know anything that the course has to throw at us. All we have is the assurance that we can trust our Heavenly Guide. He has gone this way before, and He knows what’s ahead. He knows His plan and how He wants to execute it, and is simply asking for our faith and obedience.
As with the riders and horses that make it smoothly through a cross-country course, the people who win at this thing called life are the ones who prepare themselves for the unexpected, and who anticipate and welcome the challenge. They are the ones who take that leap of faith and believe God will help them land on their feet, no matter the tests along the way. They are the ones who keep stride with God and His rhythm, relishing the journey and content to obey the One in complete control.
If we have any chance of making this life count, we have to approach it the way the horses of the cross-country event do — we have to realize that our time here is limited, and we must stay at God’s pace in order to succeed. We must also put aside our fears and be willing to stride into the unknown, trusting we have a faithful and dependable Leader who will always direct us where we’re supposed to go.
Doing that, my friends, is a winning formula.
— Katherine Singer
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