I don’t know much about horses… much less Arabian horses. But, from my limited knowledge and research, I do know that the Arabian horses of old would go through a very rigorous training regimen to prepare them for the deserts of the Middle East. Their trainers would require absolute obedience from them, and their final test – to see if they were fully trained – was beyond imaginable (some might even say cruel). After being forced to go many days without water, the trainer would turn the horses loose… and, of course, they’d sprint with everything in them toward the watering hole…but just before they would reach it, the trainer would blow his whistle. The horses… who hd been completely trained… would stop and gallop back to the trainer, panting and quivering from thirst. When the trainer was assured of his horses’ perfect obedience, he’d turn them loose again, and allow them to drink. Now, this might seem like it’s overboard and a very cruel way to train… but if you were in a trackless desert and your life was entrusted to a horse, you’d had better made sure it was a trained and obedient horse!
In a very similar way, sometimes it seems like God’s desert training of His children… not to mention His leaders… is over the top. Maybe even cruel, to some. Prayers seemingly go unanswered. Diffulties upon difficulties arise. Hello… McFly! WHERE IS GOD??
In the desert, God is not only teaching us trust… and patience… but, maybe most importantly, OBEDIENCE. Even when it seems He’s distant or not showing up when we want Him to… will we obey? Or will we take shortcuts to get what we want? Moses told the children of Israel… as they were about to leave the desert for the Promised Land… that God had humbled and tested them in the desert, “in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would [obey Him]” (Deut. 8:2). The apostle Paul reminded Timothy, his young protege and minister, that God desires His leaders to be “holy and useful to the Master and prepred to do any good work” (1 Tim. 2:21).
The desert is painful… and its pinch is designed for us to never forget the lessons learned duing our time in the desert. The painful experience pushes us to depend on and draw near to God in full surrender, so that we’re always reminded that HE is our source… HE is our supply. So, in the future… when our tanks run dry… we’ll run to HIM, and not to idols that temporarily bring pleasure or relief, but ultimately do not satisfy.
Like the Arabian horses in the deserts of the Middle East, God wants us to be people of endurance and obedience. Don’t give up… even if t seems like God is distant. Stand firm and hold to what He told you last.