Horse art is everywhere in Texas. It is
impossible to have lived here as long as I have and not absorb some of
the local passion for horses. It is in the very air that we breathe. I mean that quite literally!
In spring, walking through the hushed halls of the Kimbell Art Museum, I am often amused by those who disgustedly wrinkle their noses at the earthy smells of horse dung, wafting from the Will Rogers area, just a block away!
There, in enormous barns, proud owners of thoroughbreds and other more humble livestock, exhibit and trade with gusto, unaware of the contempt of the more genteel museum goers downwind.
Not surprisingly, common ground is reached when the local artist captures the magnificence of these animals (minus their stench!) and creates wonderful horse art - or equestrian art – for the more cultured among you.
I joined local artists in creating horse art as a form of protest. I am ashamed to admit that I was actually voicing a formal complaint against the Lord!
During a particularly bleak period of time, I felt ignored at art shows - my art overlooked in favor of others. Galleries here invariably show some form of equestrian art. It seemed to garner a lot of admiration from the locals and tourists. Almost unconsciously, I began to protest one day, grumbling that it appeared as if the only art that seemed to be selling was horse art!
Despite my resolve that I would only create art at His leading, I found my hands shaping a horse in relief. When I was finished, I felt a smug sense of satisfaction at finally creating a work that I felt would be surely be popular and of course, SELL!
It didn’t last long, because opening the Bible that day, I read, “A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save !” Ps 33:17
Ouch! Here I was once again, acting outside of
the parameters that I had set for myself, seeking
monetary rewards instead of sticking to my earlier stated objectives! I had told myself that my faith would be an integral part of my creativity. Art my hands made, I had purposed, would be as a result of conversations with God. Yet I had succumbed to the yearning for sales over maintaining the integrity of my motives regarding my work.
How grateful I am for the Lord’s gentle disciplinary hand. When I had
repented of my rebellion that only He could know of, I felt the liberty
of forgiveness and the freedom to create all the horse art I so desired! It now intrigues me to see the many references to horses there are in the Bible, worthy of exploration as themes for future work.
Now I create with the understanding of who really
must be in charge. I create with a sense of awe of the
God who knows me so completely. My lofty aspirations and
my often shallow motives are all laid bare before Him! He knows how selfish I really am,
despite my striving to be otherwise. Yet He loves me anyway and encourages me to believe that I can be who I aspire to be. He
is kind enough to help me along and for that I am so very grateful.
I discovered that in the Bible, the horse seems to be
frequently used as a symbol of man looking for deliverance from other sources other than from God. In fact, it was a consistent theme through the ages.
was not alone – others, besides me, seemed to choose the tangible
instead of the unseen! That is why the kings of Israel were cautioned
against accumulating horses. Trust in God was to be their source of strength, not the size of their armies or the strength of their horses.
“The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, "You are not to go back that way again."” Deut 17:16
I learned a valuable lesson (one that I pray I wont have to relearn many times!) in my first rebellious making of horse art. I was to trust God alone and refuse to assess success or failure by comparing myself to others around me.
when I create horse art, I am captivated more by the One who created
the horse in all its glorious grace and form, than the creature itself. I
also refrain from leaning on my horse art works to bring me the sales
that I enjoy.
I pray that you will take from my lesson in submission more than just a chuckle of amusement. Instead, may you appreciate the relevance of the Bible and the wonderful way the Holy Spirit spoke to my tendency, which is merely a reflection of man's persistent striving for independence apart from God.