Sitting on a bench on a windy hilltop in the Golan Heights (near the borders of Israel, Syria, and Lebanon) this past August, I found myself distracted from what my tour guide was saying because I had a clear view into war-torn Syria from the Israeli territory where I sat. The village I saw just across the border seemed so peaceful, but I knew that, not too far away, many thousands of people were dying in the violent civil war that is still tearing Syria apart as I write this blog months later.
I'd prayed for the people of Syria often after the war broke out, but now that I was looking into Syria with my own eyes, I was overwhelmed with sorrow for the people there. I bowed my head and prayed silently yet urgently for God to help Syrians trapped in the violence, as well as refugees who escaped but face harsh living conditions in their camps.
When I looked up, I saw a tall, muscular white horse looking straight at me.
Where had that majestic animal come from? I hadn't seen it anywhere in the area before I'd bowed my head for prayer, but suddenly it was close by, watching me silently yet intently from the grass that bordered the overlook where my tour group sat. I watched the horse as it watched me, and the more I gazed at it, the more peaceful I felt. Somehow, the horse seemed to tell me that God had heard my prayers, that he also felt sorrow and concern for the people of Syria, and that his desire was peace for them.
Mesmerized, I kept staring at the horse until it was time to get back on the tour bus. The horse was gone by the time I'd settled into my seat and looked out the window -- even though not enough time had passed for it to walk away without me still spotting it somewhere on the surrounding landscape.
Later, I asked others on the tour if they'd noticed the horse, but they hadn't -- despite the fact that it was so close to where our group gathered, and so striking in appearance. I was dismayed that they hadn't seen the horse, since I'd seen it as clearly as I'd seen everything else around me -- from the other people sitting nearby, to our bus waiting in the parking lot.
That's when it hit me: the horse was likely a angel or spiritual totem, sent by God in answer to my prayers to deliver a message of peace. Horses represent strength and power, and white ones also represent holiness and peace. The world's most popular religious text, the Bible, even presents a story about Jesus Christ riding on a white horse as he leads armies of angels to fight for good to overcome evil.
What a beautiful way for God to have assured me that he sees and cares about the people of Syria!
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