I will always remember 2015 as the year of the horse.
Time of death?
When God moved on.
Of all the beautiful, challenging words spoken at IF:Gathering 2015 last February, these seven from Christine Caine settled heaviest on my heart:
“Sweetheart, if the horse is dead…dismount.”
She was preaching from Joshua 1 where God is like, “Hey, Josh. Remember Moses? He’s dead. That thing I was doing with him? Yeah, I’m not doing that anymore. I blessed all of that once, but we’re not in that season anymore. I’ve moved on, I’m doing a new thing, and now I want you and all these people to get ready to cross into the land I’m about to give you.”
Christine’s message was clear: We cannot lay hold of all that Jesus has laid hold of for us if we are hanging onto what’s dead, what’s finished. And since God has a history of telling his people to let go of the past when his grace is no longer on it, we’d be wise to check our ponies for a pulse.
“Some of you have come to the IF:Gathering this year because the word of the Lord to you is, ‘That thing is finished,’” she said. “The enablement of the Holy Spirit is not on it anymore, but you are so scared of stepping into what will be that you keep hanging onto what was. ‘Moses, my servant, is dead. And, Sweetheart, if the horse is dead…dismount. Dismount! I was there, yes, but I’m not the God of I was. I am the God of I am.’”
The first horse collapsed two months later on an ordinary April morning at my desk.
I don’t know what it was about that particular conference call at work, but something finally snapped inside of me that had been bending for months. As soon as I hung up the phone, I knew it was over.
“That’s it!” I yelled to no one. “I am not in this anymore, and neither is God.”
Two hours later, I slipped one foot out of the saddle I’d been sitting in for 10 years and started looking for a new job.
Why? Because God isn’t the God of I was. He’s the God of I am. And I wanted to be where God was headed, not trapped in the dirt beneath a 1,200 lb. dead animal.
A month later, the legs buckled on a second horse. The one my husband was riding.
When God called Ryan off the church planting horse, he dismounted without complaint. Not without fear or without pain or without struggle, but certainly without complaint.
Why? Because God isn’t the God of I was. He’s the God of I am. And Ryan wanted to be where God was headed, even if it cost him a dream and some pride and most of the brown hair on his handsome head.
So listen: The God of Moses and Joshua? He hasn’t changed. Not one bit. He’s still very much in the business of moving us on when he’s up to something new. And when that happens, we can either dismount or disobey.
Which is it going to be for you this year?
I don’t know what kind of horse you are riding today, but if you’re kicking your heels into its side and wondering when God is going to make it giddy up, maybe he’s trying to tell you he’s finished with that. Maybe he’s moved on and is waiting for you to dismount.
Will you do it?
I hope so.
I also hope you come to IF:Gathering 2016 in two weeks because this broken, crumbling world doesn’t just need us to get off our dead horses and our high horses and our rocking horses, it needs us to mount new ones, to ride and love and live like Jesus, unbridled, unhindered, and full of faith.
What if we actually do it?