When Your Feet Feel Stuck
We recently returned from a family vacation in Florida where warm sand castles and cool salty waves filled our days. The break from the ordinary was welcome, but as we pulled into our driveway and were greeted by the chilly air- I was reminded again of the routines we were plunging into.
There is work to attend to, meals to cook, dishes to wash, school to teach, and oh- the laundry. There are lawns to mow, pipes to fix, health issues to hash out, and kids to continue to care for. Our week away was only a band-aid. It lured us with its turquoise blues and noble palm trees making us believe that we could escape it all.
Except of course- we couldn’t.
In truth we never really left the methodical turn of the hamster wheel- we just upgraded to one with an ocean front view for a week.
As much as I feel stuck- in the same loop, in the same trials, with the same questions, and the same difficulties- I’ve found hope lately in an unexpected Psalm.
A Spacious Place
Psalm 31 finds David pleading with God to deliver him from difficulty. He had been pursued by men who hated him- his own king who was actively seeking to kill him. This bitter feud left him on the run, hiding from death and “wasted from grief” (v.9).
Yet in verse 8 he tells the Lord,
“You have set my feet in a spacious place.”
The first I read of that line, I did a double-take. Really? A spacious place?
I could sympathize with David’s grief, but I couldn’t yet join him in this proclamation of faith.
Most of my days I don’t feel as if my feet are set in a spacious place. Instead they feel stuck. Stuck in ruts of routine. Stuck in ruts of difficulties with no answers. Instead of an open beach of freedom, they feel as they are perched on a rocky ledge, wondering if I can keep up, and waiting for the foundation to give.
Perhaps you feel stuck too? Maybe you feel the rut of days that simply march right into the next. You wonder about all the things you could be doing if only this difficulty was taken away- or perhaps this ailment, or that behavioral problem with your kids.
Yet if we believe God is trustworthy, we must believe that even our tired, worn out, and discouraged feet are too set in a spacious place.
To do this though, we need not to move our feet, but to lift our eyes.
Eyes that see our freedom
Unfortunately our eyes are often nearsighted. We’ve always been this way. John Calvin wrote about our propensity to fix our gaze on ourselves and the nearby world around us. We see the virtue of those around us, the brilliance of our own actions, the joys and pleasures of our world and we think it’s a glorious end goal.
Yet when God opened our eyes to his truth, when we first gazed on his beauty- we realized what we had been missing for so long. Calvin says it’s like looking up at the brilliance of the sun, and instantly realizing that what we thought was so wonderful “is mere dimness when applied to the sun.” He compares it to an eye who has only seen black and believes every dingy color of gray to be white.
But if we are in Christ, we have seen the true white. We have gazed on the sun and our eyes have been opened to see. And in doing so, we have been freed to enjoy so much more than we ever would have imagined. No longer are we slaves to sin (Rom 6:20). No longer are we dead in our trespasses (Eph. 2:1). No longer are we far away from God, but we have been brought near, into union with the God who dazzles more than anything in all of his creation.
Our feet are surely in a spacious place because we are free to know, to love, and to serve the infinite and beautiful God.
Our feet can run in this.
We are free to partake of every spiritual blessing that he has abundantly lavished upon his children (Eph. 1:3). We are now free to burst with fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness instead of the fruit of death (Gal. 5:22-23) because we now abide in the vine that is growing (Jhn. 15:5). We are free to live and know with confidence that nothing will ever separate us from the this love of our God (Rom. 8:28-29). We are now free to delight in all his law (Ps. 119:14), and are able to choose the way of faithfulness (Ps. 119:30) because of the Spirit who works through us.
And we are free to do all of this today. Not when our schedules clear up, not when our health gets better, our job is more fun, or even once we get a vacation. This is where our feet stand today.
This is why David could proclaim with confidence the freedom and safety he had even while running in fear. He knew his refuge was in God (Ps. 31:1), and in him he was sure to find steadfast love (v.7), grace (v.9), all goodness (v.19), and true protection (v.20). His eyes were lifted up- to see the true hope he had in God and the endless bounty that lay before his feet- no matter what circumstance came his way.
This week when the days feel long, or perhaps next week when the Easter celebrations have ended and we go back to another week of normal- let’s lift our eyes up- up to the God we serve, and out to the freedom he has brought us into. He truly has set our feet in a spacious place. As Spurgeon said, we are in a space large enough for the ocean, because the Lord has placed us in “in the hollow of his hand.”
Let’s find rest in his gifts, and walk out into his freedom.
To be entirely at the disposal of God is life and liberty for us. – Charles Spurgeon