Scary Paths

“The Lord Almighty is my strength.

He makes my feet like those of a deer.

He makes me walk on the mountains.

 For the choir director; on stringed instruments.” 


There is a lot of desert in the Land that God gave to His people.  There are also mountains.  When I read this verse, I think of a particular oasis in the desert of Israel, the place where David and Saul had their famous shouting match. There is a waterfall where waters from the heights of Jerusalem, having traveled underground, spill out into this mountain oasis…utterly beautiful in its contrast to the surrounding desert.

As our group begins to walk the long path to the waterfall, we move higher and higher. The rocky path narrows and becomes more challenging.  By the time we reach the sparkling waters flowing from Jerusalem gushing out of the rock, its contrast to the rocky desert surroundings are a pure delight. Many walk right into the sparkling, refreshing water.

But along the way, there are often gazelles (small, mountain deer) perched on rocky ledges, watching our human struggles to move along the mountain paths below them.  They easily bound up the side of the cliffs in ways we could never maneuver.  And they watch us struggle, panting as we go, clinging to any rocky outcrop along the way.

Part of the wonder of watching these deer move along the steep cliffs is not only the ease with which they climb, but the grace with which they move.  Effortless.  Sure-footed. Natural.  Fearlessly.  Like a beautiful song.

David, in this desert oasis, watched a similar scene often each day.  He had been running and hiding for his life. Seeing these fleet-footed deer easily maneuvering terrain that could surely lead to a man’s death, David could relate.  Surrounded by the harsh desert and the steep, rocky paths along the exposed mountain wall, David saw himself being strengthened and motivated to stand firmly on his Rock of Salvation.

As I move through the steep, rocky paths of life, I want to have such a confidence in God’s constant Presence and Guidance in my life.  I don’t want to be clinging to a safe spot, white-knuckled and stuck.  I want to move forward gracefully and fluidly, knowing I was made for this Journey, and this Journey was made for me. . . like the deer on the cliffs.  I want my life to be a song that others can join in on the words and melody.  It’s a simple song, sweet and clear, that David gave us.  But its meaning and truth continues through the ages.

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