Discerning the Purpose of the Hobble

by | Feb 8, 2019 | Discipleship, Discipline, Faith, Freedom, Healing, Humility, Identity, Pride, Rest, Spiritual Warfare, Trust, Wisdom | 0 comments

My father wrangled horses in the Arizona desert in the 1920s. From time to time, he would place a hobble on his horses. A hobble is a short line tied between the legs of a horse to limit their mobility. Under the restraining influence of the hobble, a horse doesn’t wander away. My father hobbled horses out of love to keep them near to him when a corral was not available. 

The hobble taught me a lesson about life in the Spirit. There are seasons of life when God will hobble His children. To the immature and impatient this hobbling can be misunderstood. Some see a life of faith through the cloudy lens of zeal without the clarity of wisdom. They think every day of faith is meant to be fast and always moving forward. Others think they can run at full speed whenever they desire across the sagebrush plains of life naively assuming no potholes or cliff edges exist along the path of their faith-gallop. After they experience a few broken legs and nosedives, they eventually stop to ponder the reason why life is not working out as they had imagined.

God hobbles us to train us how to rest in His presence and not foolishly run after the unrestrained and undisciplined passions that can put us in a place of unnecessary jeopardy. Sometimes He hobbles the expansion of a vision to bring clarity to the vision. He will hobble an impatient spouse who needs to learn what sacrificial love looks like in a marriage. A young person might need to experience the restraint of a hobble because they have not yet learned what it means to honor other people. God never hobbles us to harm us. His hobbles are restraints of love that teach and train us how to discover what real freedom is like. They also keep us near to our only true source of life while we are learning our lesson.

The limitations of mobility in your life are not always the devil. Sometimes they are an act of love from God. We need to learn how to discern the difference. Without discernment, we will try to run when we should walk or struggle to get free from the hobble when our assignment is to wait and trust. If we always struggle against a hobble, we can miss the deeper lesson God wants us to learn. That is the purpose of the hobble.


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