Wooden Stakes

“God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on high places.” (Habakkuk 3:19)

I ran headlong into old friends this week – caught sight of them when I wasn’t even looking or aware of how much I needed their familiar faces. Knowing what they held, they had come searching for me.

In the way photographs stir forgotten memories and reopen the past for current viewing, these two friends unlocked a door; over the threshold they strode, settled themselves before me, and visited as if no time had elapsed since they last kept me company.

I was seventeen when I first noticed them, green in my faith, uncertain of the future. I began falling in love with the Lord then and he, pursuing me with passion, opened my sights to the wonder of his words.

I kept a journal, a simple notebook where I penned meaningful portions of Scripture, the ones that held my gaze and stirred noble aspirations within my youthful heart. Here I scrawled significant verses that marked me like wooden stakes the Lord hammered inside me.

In the obscure pages where my fingers still fumble, I read once more: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation…he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on high places” (Habakkuk 3:17-­‐19).

Thirty‐five years later, I am transported to my teenage bedroom and the beginning stage of my spiritual journey. Without a clue of what was in store, I understood that regardless of barren fields and infertile years, despite hardships and hard ways, I need not fear. The God who had saved me would always be Savior; the God who had rescued me would always be Rescuer and Friend.

This week, I looked steadily again at these unchanging truths and celebrated their unwavering reality ‐ every word accurate, their meaning proven and tried.

Especially in the unfruitful, unyielding, blossom-­barren times, the Lord was provider and friend. Every promise he nailed down, he enforced. He brought joy when circumstances dictated otherwise and gave relief amidst disarray.

He had given me his Word and kept it, taken my hand and held it. I must choose to trust him still, for the journey on from here.

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