"An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength." Psalm 33:17 (KJV)
Ever since I was a young girl, I have been fascinated with horses. I've only had the privilege of riding one once in my life, and I've never personally owned one. To be honest, when I used to visit them up close at my Uncle Cecil's boarding stable, the vastness of their size intimidated me. But, to me, they have to be one of the most majestic, noble animals God ever created. They are strong and valiant and sturdy-built.
When I was growing up, I liked to collect things with horses on them. They were just so interesting, and the thing that I admired the most about them was the attribute of their strength. There is just something comforting about seeing pictures of them running free and uninhibited. They are spirited and proud and sure and loyal....and incredibly strong.
I love to look at this beautiful horse in West Virginia. I admire its beauty and the stoutness of its build. I imagine it can pull weight many times its own body weight, and its strength and power far surpasses that of several men put together. What a powerful exhibition of God's creation!
But, with all of its strength and nobility, this horse could do nothing to keep me safe. If danger were near, it would be powerless to defend me. As today's passage reminds us, to depend upon this animal for our safety would be entirely vain, and it could never be counted on to deliver anyone with all of its power. And even though it is beautiful to look at, exhilarating to ride, and powerful to pull loads, it could never bring about the peace I crave deep inside.
There are many things in this life that we can put our trust in. Money makes people feel safe and comforted. Knowing they have a nest egg to fall back on gives a certain sense of security and peace. But, what if the money is spent? What if the investments don't pay off? What if the economy crumbles, and all is lost? There have been many who have placed their whole trust in money who have ended up taking their own lives when their source of security was taken away.
During my career in banking, I worked in areas of considerable wealth along the "Treasure Coast" of Florida. It never ceased to amaze me to observe the emphasis people place on their money, and the extremes they will go to in order to keep it safe and protected. In the end, it matters not how much wealth we accumulate. When life is over, we will have no choice but to leave it all behind.
Relationships provide a sense of safety, and many times we seek a person to be our deliverer. We think if only we can find "Mr. Right", if only he would ride into our lives on his white horse and snatch us up out of our current situation, all would be well with us. He could deliver us and keep us safe and we would live happily ever after. But, what about the day we come to the realization that he is human, and there is only so much he can do to fulfill us and make us complete? What about the moment he gets back on his white horse and rides away...off to rescue another? What if he decides he doesn't want to be our protector after all?
Some people delve into their career with all the passion they have, and they go after promotion and prestige with a vengeance. They spend years preparing for it, just knowing deep inside that once they attain it, once they have the title, once they accomplish their long-term goals, they will be happy. They will feel safe...and secure...and everything will be perfect. But, what about the day, the boss comes around to say things just aren't going as well as they expected, and the termination date is set? What about the moment the news comes to us that the other gal got the promotion, even though we gave it all we had? What if everything we can muster to deliver ourselves just isn't good enough? What then?
The big house, the steady-growing bank account, our spouse, the prestigious career, the extra-marital relationship, the title next to our name, all the horses in the world....none of it can satisfy and deliver and make us complete.
Because at the end of the day, there is a gaping hole in each and every person that only God can fill. Only He can deliver. Only He can satisfy.
Things....no matter how precious to us they are....no matter how sought-after, no matter the level of clout they provide, no matter how important they make us look in the eyes of others....can never, ever totally fulfill us or make us complete.
God reserves that role to Himself.
He is what we need....we crave...we seek for....the whole time.
Chasing after the things of this world, thinking money, relationships, careers, achievements, attainments, and prestige will make us complete is like a horse racing, panting, trying to reach the carrot being dangled in front of him. It just never quite happens, does it?
The brass ring is always just slightly out of reach...even after we've accomplished our carefully-set goals and ambitions.
When all is quiet, when we have to face ourselves in the stillness, the emptiness remains.
After all of his achievements, all of his wives, everything he had accomplished, Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived said this near the end of the book of Ecclesiastes, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13 (KJV) If you read this deep, insightful book, you will see that with all of his wealth and riches and sources of security, he still felt and recognized the vanity and void left by worldly things. Only God could bring about the peace for which his soul longed.
I think his father, David, had learned the same secret when he said this,
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalm 20:7 (KJV)
I think that is what you and I should do, too. :)