“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
I knew this idiom well as a child. The phrase essentially meant, you wish for such and such, but, alas, since it is only a wish, it will remain an unfulfilled desire. It was a reminder that mere ‘wishing’ was not a productive activity. Wanting something to be a certain way contained no power to make it so. After all, if wishes were all that was required to bring about reality, lazy beggars who did nothing at all would have whatever they wanted.
Recently, coming back from a lovely prayer walk through some beautiful nearby neighborhoods, I was in my backyard stretching and doing a little reading. Putting my books aside, I became aware of my Abba, and I basked in the warmth of His presence all around me. A cluster of wishflower seeds, borne on the wind, came whisking towards me. Mindful of the name “wishflower,” Father God’s voice was strong and playful: “If wishes were horses…” I smiled, remembering the phrase my mom often would say when I was younger. “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Then it hit me.
Wishflower seeds have repeatedly represented desires in my life, and horses are a common symbol the Lord has used to talk with me about authority. To me, as well as to others, horses are a symbol of riding on the identity we have in Him. They represent our active choice to exercise the ability He has vested in us to be able to command a mountain to move and see it move or to speak to a pile of bones and see them come to life. Could it be that simply wishing for something, without recognizing the authority we’ve been given to bring change, causes us to act more like beggars than redeemed children of God? Some desires are undeniably God’s will for us. As Scripture attests again and again, He wants us to live lives devoid of fear and saturated in joy. So what if we stopped wishing? What if, instead, under the guidance of His Holy Spirit, we spoke life to the dry bones and destruction to the mountains that stood in the way? Has a part of us still been feeling and acting as if we were beggars? What if we chose to ride on who He says we are? We are His royal sons and daughters. We are co-heirs with Christ. The power that raised Christ from the dead is living in us. And these are not just nice theological truths. They are palpable living realities.
Learning to ride a horse is a process. It requires coaching. It requires learning from mistakes. Good thing we have a resident Wonderful Counselor. And authority is His trademark. So let’s leave beggarly thinking behind us. Let’s turn our wishes to horses. And, as favored sons and daughters, let’s ride.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph. 1:18-21)