The idea that the only way God can speak to the Christian is through the Bible is one of the biggest deceptions that has ever duped the church. Certainly God will never speak in a way that contradicts His written Word, but the variety of ways through which He can speak to you are limitless. And he turned to his disciples, and privately said, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see ( Luke 10:23). Learning to see Him in the details of daily living will facilitate a deeper sense of intimacy with Him that you could ever know otherwise.
Horses – I was talking with Dan, a pastor friend in Iowa, when he began to explain to me how he broke the horses he owned using the method developed by “the horse whisperer” (the real man about whom the movie was made). Shortly into our conversation, he took out a video tape containing footage of a horse being broken, using that method.
As we watched, Dan pointed out how closely the way the trainer worked with the wild horse paralleled the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives to bring us into submission to God and to teach us His love for us. I sat there dumbfounded by what I saw. When the video ended, I felt like I had “been to church.”
“Watch him,” Dan said about the horse. “The trainer has run him in a circular coral until the horse has figured out that there is no way out. You’ll see him start bowing his head toward the ground, as a sign of submission to the trainer.” As I watched the video, that was exactly what happened. “Now, look,” Dan continued. “His ear will turn in toward the trainer. Although he is afraid, he wants to hear him.”
It was amazing. There were blatant lessons that horse was teaching me about my relationship to God. As Dan explained what was going on between the trainer and the horse, there was no doubt about it, I saw God clearly in that metaphor.
Sailing – I remember when I first began to sail with my friend, Steve. As he explained how the wind and water worked together to propel the boat forward, I was amazed. “Out here, you’re not in control,” Steve said. “You have to cooperate with the wind if you want to make progress” (just like we have to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to move forward in life).
As I began to learn more and more about sailing, I could see God’s face in every detail. The Wind is His Spirit. To turn a boat straight against the wind is called being “in irons,” an apt description for our condition when we oppose God. A “close haul” is a point of sail that causes the boat to be pulled into the wind. It feels like the wind is opposing you then, but you’re actually being drawn forward. “Running with the wind” is sailing with the wind at your back. It is the most effortless point of sail, but one where you can get into trouble easily. Sailors often get careless when they are running with the wind.
The clarity of God’s presence is never more evident to me than when I’m in a sailboat. There is no doubt about it, some of God’s favorite clothes come from the nautical wardrobe.
Wood working – This week I spoke at an event for my friend, Mike, in Montgomery, Alabama. Mike began to tell me about his son’s passion for wood working. He talked about his son’s observations on wood and the obvious lessons about his relationship to Christ expressed through the wood. “Did you know the most beautiful wood comes from trees that have been under great stress?” he asked. “Fire, disease, things like that. They create a pattern inside the tree that causes it to be uniquely beautiful,” he said. “When a person wants to build a beautiful piece of furniture, he looks for wood that has been under stress.”
Wow, what a picture of how God works in our lives to develop us into something beautiful! So it is the painful times that create something inside us that make our lives more beautiful. What a comparison!
Dan has a passion for horses. Steve is a competent sailor. Mike’s son loves working with wood. In each setting, they have seen their Father’s face and taught me lessons about His love and how he works in their lives and mine.
God revealing Himself in the day to day activities of our lives – that’s what it’s all about. Don’t think you have to be reading your Bible or sitting in church to see God. Open your eyes and see. He is with you and His life permeates everything around you.