After a brief run, I slowed our party down to a walk. It was not completely dark yet, and there was no telling how much energy we would need for the night ahead. The air was cooler now, and a thin fog settled in on the valley floor. The other valley horses that had come with us were young stallions — three of them. Unlike the mare, no light shone in their eyes. Had they really made their decision yet? Were they following more out of desire … or fear? Perhaps they were trying to escape death in the valley, without ever placing any faith in the White One … at least not yet. The flash in the mare’s eyes, however, cut through the fog and convinced me that she had not only trusted me, but the White One as well.
“Tell me more about your legend of the dark horse,” I asked her as we walked. Her telling of the story had confused me because she was talking about me as if I were a dark horse. Why would she do that when everyone knew I was more white than anything? After all, I was a veteran of the White Horse Ranch, and had spent most of my life trying to appear as white as possible. I even laughed a little inside as I remembered all that silliness in light of what I was experiencing right now.
“There isn’t much to tell,” she said. “It’s been so long since my father died. All I remember is that the hero of the story was a black stallion, and he was a deliverer. I wondered if that might be you, that’s all.”
“But why? I am not a dark horse, but I did follow a dark horse into this valley. Perhaps the prophecy is about him. But how would you know about him? Had you seen him before you saw me?”
Suddenly I realized I was talking to myself. The mare had frozen somewhere during my last comments, and I looked back to see her standing there with a most quizzical look on her face.
“What do you mean, you are not a dark horse?” she said, trotting up next to me. “Do you not know yourself?”
At that I looked down at my white leg, expecting to see it reflect up at me as it always did at night. But all I saw was the faint outline of a leg, hardly visible in the approaching night. I stamped it, thinking it was caked with mud. I tried scratching it with my nose. Suddenly, with a combined sense of amazement, joy, and humility, I realized what had happened. I had been singed by the fire! I was as black as this burned-out valley! I, too, was a dark horse.
And then I laughed. I threw back my head and let out a whinny so loud it startled my new companions and bounced off the nearby canyon wall.
“What?” she exclaimed. “What is it?”
I shook my head. “Someday I will tell you the whole story. I simply am not the horse I used to be. And I am glad of it.”
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)