Last month my husband and I celebrated our twenty-second anniversary by going on a movie date for the first time in more than a year. I was a little anxious about this plan, but as we sat in a large theater with six other moviegoers all spread out, I eventually relaxed and became immersed in the story of a small town and a horse.
Much to my surprise, as a person who has never once in her life cared about horse racing, this story captured my attention and my heart. As I watched the horses thunder around the track, I realized my heart was beating fast. Then, when the horse I was cheering for actually won that race, I burst into both tears and laughter.
How did I get so emotionally invested in a horse race?
Dream Horse is a movie about a group of people in a small Welsh town who work together to buy and breed a racehorse. The men and women, who become co-owners of a horse they name Dream Alliance, commit to scraping together a few pounds each week not because they believed they would eventually receive a windfall of riches. Instead, they sign up for this adventure because they desperately need hope.
Watching the movie, I tried to understand why these people did what they did (while also cheering so fervently for a horse that I truly was breathless during a scene or two). I recognized that longing — for a reason to get up in the morning, for a purpose beyond myself, for something strong enough to put my hope in.
After riding the ups and downs of this unexpectedly emotional movie, I realized that while I felt a kinship to these characters (based on real people) who longed for hope, my response to that need wasn’t the same as theirs.
Every time it seemed as if their horse venture wouldn’t work out, the characters’ desperation and disappointment was nearly palpable. I could see on their faces and in their body language how deeply they would be cut by the end of this dream. I could hear in their voices and their words how much they needed this horse in order to be okay.
The contrast between what the horse owners believed and what I know to be true was jarring. Especially as I remembered how many times I have looked and sounded exactly like they did — when I placed my hope in a person or a relationship, when I tethered my identity and purpose to a project or a job, when I let myself believe that the only thing that could make the world, this life, me all right was my church or my party or my own efforts to force reality to bend to my will.
Those were the times I felt the least steady, the least secure, and the most like a racehorse owner watching a neck-and-neck race that could make or break me.
Needing hope that things will get better? I understand that deeply. We all do, right? But when we place our hope in the things (or people or places or animals) of this world, we are guaranteed not just disappointment but the disorientation and emotional whiplash that comes with the ups and downs along the way.
The only thing that is strong and secure enough for our hope is actually a person — Jesus. He is the only one who is worthy of all our dreams and desires, the only one who will never let us down or leave us alone. When we keep our eyes on Him and find our identity and purpose in Him, we can weather whatever twists and turns life brings us.
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
Are you looking for a reason to keep going today? A purpose or a person to believe in? Do you long for a second chance or assurance that you matter, that you are loved, that you can make it through the circumstances you’re facing?
Place all your bets on the Lord, friend. He will keep your heart and your hope safe. Go all in following Jesus, and He will faithfully carry you to the end of your race.Leave a Comment