You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. Psalm 18:36
I may have never noticed this verse if I didn’t live in New York City. Living in the city means for us not owning a car. All of our transportation needs are met by subways, buses, and walking…lots and lots of walking.
Unfortunately for me, my feet are really good at finding the uneven parts of the sidewalk and I trip and fall. Not only is it embarrassing, but it hurts, as it is never a soft landing onto concrete. The ultimate for me was literally falling on my face, jamming my glasses into my eye and cutting that sensitive place near the eyebrow that bleeds in a way that makes the injury look way more serious than it actually is.
There is also the challenge of all the metal grates, particularly above the subway lines. Navigating the grates is the ultimate challenge for me on the days when I am wearing high heels. Imagining my heel getting stuck in one of the grates and turning my ankle, makes me go way around in order to remain on the concrete, or tiptoe across the grate, not allowing my heel to touch.
I have been training myself to pick up my feet and look ahead for slightly uneven pavement that might catch my toe and make me fall. I am ok with the obvious dangers, it’s the ones I don’t see if I’m not looking that get me.
Often I have thought of Jesus’ prayer in John 17, where He says that we are not of this world. He asks the Father to protect us from the evil one while we are resident here. It is a dangerous thing to walk in this world without looking out for the places that are waiting to make us fall. Like on the sidewalks of the city, there are small cracks and slightly uneven surfaces, that we barely notice if we are not looking for them. That is why the New Testament writers warn us to stay alert against the schemes of the evil one.
Picking up my feet, in the spiritual sense, is a deliberate choice to know and obey God’s word, and to make sure that I am listening to God through prayer. You might find it strange to think of prayer as listening instead of talking. I am conscious of God’s presence with me throughout my day and find it natural to “pray without ceasing”. The Holy Spirit’s nudges make me sensitive to things that my natural senses don’t pick up. Spending time in God’s word and in ceaseless prayer are a safeguard against tripping on the obstacles Satan hides in our path because they keep our minds alert to discern what is true and what are the lies. How much we need that discernment in a world where what is right is made to look wrong, and what is wrong is exalted.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. Psalm 18:33
How have you been able to protect and maintain your time in God’s word every day?