June 4, 1996
The horse weighed at least a thousand pounds. What was she doing standing on my foot? That was not the worst of it. The week before, she ran under a tree and knocked my memory back two weeks. At times, training horses is painful and dangerous.
As a young person, I would ride anyone’s horse, including crazy animals like a chestnut thoroughbred that once belonged to a chuck wagon outrider. When I put my foot in the stirrup that gelding shut his eyes and ran. I also fondly remember a wild mare that was so stubborn that she raced to the end of her tether rope and flung herself on the ground until she was too tired to do it anymore. I rode her too.
Of course, that was years ago when I had more stamina and less sense, but I still dream about horses. Training them was a challenge. I worked hard so they submitted their strength to my control. That process helped me learn the meaning of an often misunderstood biblical word.
The word is “meek.” Most people think “wimpy”when they hear it because today it is used to describe doormats, Walter Mitty types, and anyone too weak to raise their hand or their voice in their own defense. Because of this limp, withdrawn attitude, the meek are always walked on.
However, according to the way the Bible uses “meek,” our modern definitions miss the value of meekness. For example, Scripture says spiritual giants like Moses were meek. It even says Jesus was meek. In fact, God promises that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” In other words, God considers meekness a virtue.
Scripture does not depict the meek as fearful, cowardly people. Instead, they are strong in faith because they understand God’s power and sovereignty. For them, God is always in charge and always able to do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. They also realize that resisting God is folly. He is far more powerful than anything we can do. He always wins, no matter the battle.
On the other hand, biblical meekness is not weakness either. Instead, it is like a wild stallion that has been tamed. The horse’s strength is in the fact that it is under control, not exercised in nonsensical behavior. Even the wildest horse, once tamed, becomes an asset to its owner.
When it comes to people, God’s way of controlling our negative strength is not a self-control such as holding back when you feel like hitting someone. Instead, it is the control that accompanies knowing the power of God. He makes the use of negative aggression or even positive assertion unnecessary. Why fight anything when God is more powerful? Why assert our wants, wishes or “rights” when He is on our side and willing to do it for us?
The meek do not resist God or the circumstances of their lives either. They know He controls what happens to them and that makes it easier to submit their lives to Him as well. He will either explain, change, or make sense of all of it and in the meantime, the Spirit can produce its fruit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.”
If meekness were a whipped, beaten puppy that cowers in a corner, God would not recommend it. Instead, meekness is a graceful, prancing, parade-leading pony, moving forward under the direction of its rider. Meekness is not afraid because it trusts the Master. Meekness is not cowardly because it knows Who is on its side.