“With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall”
We went out early on the first day of school, so full of excitement about the big day that we couldn’t stand in the house a moment longer. My girls had been wearing their backpacks for a full five minutes before I finally opened the door and we stepped outside.
And there we stood, dad, mom, and three girls waiting, waiting, and waiting for the big yellow bus.
Then it came, and the older girls climbed up the steps, the doors shut, and the bus pulled away. And I wasn’t on it with them.
Because school buses aren’t for moms.
At the end of the day, my baby and I walked down to the end of our driveway and watched for the bus to return. After it was five minutes late, I gripped my cell phone tightly in case the school called with horrible news.
After ten minutes of being late, I just knew that my daughters had gotten lost and placed on the wrong bus. Surely they had been shipped to some other route across the county all because I hadn’t been there to guide them.
After fifteen minutes of being late, I thought they must have gotten lost in the school hallways and they would be so terrified they wouldn’t be able to tell their name much less their teacher’s name or room number or my name or their address or phone number. No one would ever find them. My girls would simply be missing in the halls of the school forever . . . all because I wasn’t there to speak for them!
But eighteen minutes after the bus was supposed to arrive, it finally stopped in front of our home. And guess what?
What’s more . . . they knew their room numbers and their teacher’s names and yes, even how to use the school bathroom.
I guess they survived without my hovering presence today.
Maybe there will be times when they struggle and feel a little lost and I will need to navigate the difficult waters of “Mom-dom,” deciding when to step in and rescue them and when to trust that we’ve trained them well enough to manage on their own.
Even God, the Perfect Father, navigates this fine parental balance between deliverance and training.
In Psalm 18, the writer declares that God:
“reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
God yanked the Psalmist out of the drowning waves and rescued him from overwhelming foes.
Not only that, the poet tells God, “You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way” (Psalm 18:36).
Sometimes God knows we can’t handle this foe and we need rescue. On other days, He gives us easy circumstances, a broad path, a relaxing walk, rather than a treacherous mountain climb up a narrow rock-filled pathway because He knows our feet are tender and uncertain.
But life isn’t always easy and our journey isn’t always a Sunday stroll on a bright and cheerful day. God doesn’t always carry us out of tough times; sometimes He asks us to rely on all the training He has poured into our hearts and minds so that we will overcome.
Thus, in that same Psalm, we see: “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall” (Psalm 18:29).
And why can we perform these feats of wonder with God’s help? Because He has trained us in times of peace so that we can battle through times of war.
The Psalmist says:
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze (Psalm 18:32-34).
God has exercised our limbs of faith and traveled with us in paths both broad and narrow. Our feet have grown accustomed to the journey, becoming sure-footed like a deer’s and able to scale great mountainous heights.
And while God is always with us, never abandoning us for a moment, sometimes He chooses to walk alongside us through difficult circumstances rather than lifting us up and carrying us through them.
My baby likes to be carried and sometimes she stands at me feet, waving her arms at me and jumping up and down so I’ll lift her up onto my hip and hold her close. Sometimes I scoop her up. Other times I reach my hand for hers and tell her, “You can walk.”
Maybe God is saying that to you today. Perhaps you’ve tapped your feet impatiently at God, waiting for Him to place you on His shoulders and make all of these hard times just disappear.
Maybe you feel like it’s all just too much for you and you can’t travel a step further, not even one more moment down this path.
But instead of offering you an escape route, maybe your Father God, knowing full well what is best for you, is asking you to walk through the difficult road, at least a little farther. He will provide all that you need, the training, the strength, the energy, the patience and perseverance. And when He sees that your “foot is slipping,” like the Psalmist, you can say, “your unfailing love, Lord, supported me” (Psalm 94:18).
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King