By Jamie Martelle
Nothing brings you closer to the Lord like being broke. I say that with a bit of a smirk, but it is during those times when you find yourself in a situation akin to a quagmire, flailing around for a life rope of some sort, when you can choose to square your shoulders with the determination to trust God in this, and He will show His glory.
We have a few things going on, medical bills and tax season, mainly. It’s nothing terrible, but definitely a different sort of financial picture than we would prefer. I was struggling with this, but I knew that God would not appreciate my lack of trust in this situation, so I just gave up.
I gave up worrying.
I gave up being angry.
I gave up feeling sorry for myself.
It wasn’t without some doing. But a beautiful memory surfaced in the process, of a message I heard during our revival last fall, from the Reverend Nathan Covington. He talked about the feet of a deer, specifically, this refers to a female deer, known as a hind (as in the King James Version).
For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 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. (Psalm 18:31-33 NIV)
“What is special about the feet of a doe, a deer, a female deer?” you may be wondering. Reverend Covington explained, a hind is the only animal that has the ability to perfectly follow with her back feet the steps taken with her front feet. Because of that special gift, she is able to climb the steep, rocky face of a mountain and find her way around, without ever getting lost, and her young are able to follow more easily. These deer don’t get lost the way humans would, climbing a mountain, veering one way and then another, searching out the way to go.
The way that God makes our feet like the feet of a deer doesn’t have as much to do with our feet as it has to do with our thoughts.
My mind goes so many different directions. I know what I need to do, but then my thoughts turn toward my resistance to doing it. Can you relate? I have the deliberate thought of what I know I need to do, then from my subconscious mind comes the nagging, “I don’t want to…this makes me so mad…why should I have to…,” really unhelpful, negative thoughts.
The other day when I was struggling with the sad news of our recent income tax report, and those negative kinds of thoughts were plaguing me, a thought that was not of my own came to me. I had a choice. If I trusted God, I ought to choose not to fear, not to worry, but to know that this situation did not come as a surprise to Him, and He will bring us through it. I could choose the security of resting in His care for me, and freedom from anxiety and depression. That felt really good, I must say.
Those old yucky thoughts didn’t just go away, but I had a defense to deal with them then. I kept fighting them off with the assurance that God is in control, and He has a great track record for taking exceptionally good care of us. Soon, I remembered Reverend Covington’s sermon about the hind’s feet.
The hind’s special ability correlates with the way we can learn to pattern our conscious and subconscious thoughts. We have the ability to select or reject the thoughts that we think. When we select only the thoughts that take us in the direction we know that we need to go, the direction that God tells us so plainly we are to go, we can reach the highest heights of the life He has planned for us.
I found that turning my thoughts back to focusing on God’s promises to me and on His truth took some effort, but not nearly as much effort as it takes to keep up with and deal with all my negative emotions. I was actually empowered when I did this, I believe because He rewarded those efforts with His supernatural strength. Without the “junk” thoughts (think “spam”) weighing down my spirit, I was much better equipped to move on and deal with our situation in a productive way.
There are times when this will not be so easy, I am certain of that. I’ve already walked through plenty of those times; I imagine there will be more. This is not a blog post to tell people how to “just deal with it and move on,” ignoring and stuffing emotional pain. This is a story of a tool that was given to me, that I plan to use, again and again. I offer it to you, as well.
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
(Helen H. Lemmel, 1922, public domain)