MORNING GLORY 33
God arms me with strength, and He makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on the mountain heights. - Psalm 18:32-33 NLT
To continue the excitement (or something) with my car…I was minding my own business and driving home in early afternoon. Pushing 60 — I wasn’t speeding and still keeping pace with traffic — when out of nowhere a deer leapt in front of my car and dashed at full force across 2 lanes. I was absolutely shocked as I gripped the steering wheel and hit the brakes. Praise the Lord the other cars around were far enough behind me, so the deer lived to tell her side of the story. I have never seen a deer dash into traffic in daylight! Both my car and the deer were completely unharmed — although I was stunned. And I’m sure the deer was too! It was over faster than about 2 seconds. As I drove the final miles to my house, I wondered why the deer just so happened to cross traffic in front of my car.
Then this phrase from Psalm 18 came into my mind: He makes me as surefooted as a deer. I think we can learn a lot from this deer here. First of all — being surefooted as a deer is a literal lesson from this run-in. If we’re going to make a move, do it with steady, purpose-driven steps. On the other hand (or foot) — it’s risky running out in front of traffic to make it from one side of the road to another. Taking a step can seem dangerous, but we have the ability to look both ways before crossing. The deer had a goal and she wasn’t letting a few cars get in her way. That’s admirable at surface level, but she almost reached hood ornament status in the process. When we go after goals or seek to make a move on something we want to do, we don’t have to become future potential hood ornaments too. We can watch; alert and awake and ready to make the move. We don’t dash out like a crazy deer without a plan. But that doesn’t mean we have to wait until every car or road block is out of the way. It’s a healthy warning sign to keep a lookout for anything that could trip us up. For us, it’s not so much a car (although we’ve all learned to stop and look both ways before crossing the street as kids!) But it most definitely is a whole traffic jam of other things — doubt, comparison, fear, indecision, procrastination — fill in the blank lies that trip us up. Often times like this runaway deer, we don’t see it coming until it's right in our faces. But if we’re awake with our eyes fixed on Jesus — we can go in faith, surefooted as a deer, and trusting God’s sovereignty to lead us and keep us. And our sure-footedness does not depend on our own capability — but on our complete confidence that the Lord making a way for us and strengthening us to step in faith.
Often I find myself wanting to jump at opportunities and run after God’s calling for me. While the motivation for that is rooted in goodness, I want to move with more intentionality. Just because there’s an opening in traffic, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily meant for me. We have to look past the noise and traffic because it’s all loud and distracting. There’s no other true and steadfast road map for us to know which paths to take outside of God’s Word. Psalm 18 says that He gives us strength and makes our way perfect. We need His strength, friend. I don’t know about you but I pray for signs about which way to go and which path to pursue all the time. And I’m reminded “all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10 ESV) We’re not really called to only do one job or make one goal — our ultimate goal is Jesus and we can live pursuing Him in endless ways. I believe God is less concerned about the what and more interested with the how and why of our hearts. We can pump the brakes on the pressure we put on ourselves to figure the ‘whats' out. And there’s freedom on that road and a pace where we can finally breathe. We might find our path today is not crossing a busy road, but finding rest in green pastures (Psalm 23:2) or forging a new way in the wilderness (Isaiah 43:19). The way He calls us to go isn’t always crowded and the gate might be narrow (John 10:9). But Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) — our highway to the Father. May it be so.