Laughing I’d sprung up onto the horses back, waiting for my brother to sit behind me. What a happy day, the day my father bought us the horse; a gleaming chocolate-brown mare called Lady. I couldn’t wait to learn how to ride her. Being the eldest I got to sit in front and hold the reins. Unfortunately the joy didn’t last.
The help’s children heard about the horse as soon as their mother got home. They arrived the next day, all four of them. I can still see them crossing the creek and running over the paddocks to our place. I was a timid seven-year old and no match for them. They were older, aggressive and mean – with a huge sense of entitlement. The reins were snatched out of my hands as the usurpers helped each other onto her back. I was left standing by the gate in tears, watching them ride our horse.
It was no good going to my mother. She had her own problems – bipolar illness and a big family. The big family wasn’t entirely her fault – after me and my brother were born she had two sets of twin girls. After the birth of the last set of twins, she was completely unable to cope with us. I’m not going to go there with the bipolar thing. All I will say is the day the horse arrived is my only happy memory from that time.
My father hired Miriam, a woman of Samoan/Maori blood to help my mother in the house. I know we got her and her family the same year as the horse. I didn’t know Miriam was the help. I thought she was a friend of my mother and her children were our “friends”, even though they seemed to look down on us. I foolishly trusted her as an Aunty. I didn’t know it as a child, but Miriam despised me because in her words “I was always crying”.
There is a proverb which says “A shrewd servant will gain authority over a master’s worthless son and receive a part of the inheritance.” Proverbs 17:2
I went into the house to ask the adults for help. They told me I had to “share”. Hearing this and knowing I had no authority as the daughter of the house, Miriam’s children sneered at me and assumed ownership of the horse. At first I cried and became a victim – but I was a determined little kid. I wrested control from them after I worked out how to bridle the horse, jump on her back and ride across the paddocks to my grandparent’s place. I did this until they got the message about who the horse belonged to.
Still I felt worthless and powerless. I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries. I lost faith in people and felt I had no one to turn to. Parents who don’t give their children boundaries send them defenseless into a world full of controlling manipulative people.
So how does this relate to the Kingdom of God? What would Jesus have done? He would have put the smallest children on the horse’s back first. The children of the servant would have had to ask permission to ride. If we had said yes they would have had to wait their turn. The Lord is a firm believer in boundaries and treating people with respect. Boundaries were the first things He helped me construct when He became my King.
He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:29.
God will help us in our weakness if we recognise His authority.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom. Matthew 5:3
There was once a powerful man who recognised his own sin and helplessness. This man, a roman centurion, saw Jesus and recognised His authority;
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.” Matthew 8:9
The Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. We haven’t been left as orphans. Jesus has given us his authority. We need to know our authority as sons and daughters of the King and walk in it.
I’ll leave you with a clip of some beautiful horses responding to their master’s authority. These horses were originally bred as “war horses” in the days of knights and armor. As armor got heavier, bigger horses were needed and the Friesian almost became extinct. They are back, and are one of the most beautiful horses in stature as well as gait. These horses are native to the Netherlands.
May you find your joy in the LORD, and may He cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land … (Isaiah 58:14).