My husband is insistent that our whole family wears helmets to protect our heads when we ride bikes or go skiing. He purchased me a neon green helmet to wear when I’m zipping down the bike lanes of New York City’s streets. I do not look cool! And he urged me, some years ago, to wear a helmet while skiing. He and our children had done so for some time, but I didn’t want to mess up my hair. I do now wear a helmet while skiing, although not always when I’m riding my bike, and absolutely see the sense in it.
Protecting our heads from injury is important, yet the Bible talks more often about taking care of our feet and, in particular, how God watches over our feet.
It’s not so much that God observes where we step and stops us from slipping over and injuring ourselves, although I’m sure he does that, but he cares about the direction of our lives and guides our steps.
There are so many verses in the Bible that speak to this—God promises to keep us from disaster (Psalm 121:3, Psalm 66:9) or go in the wrong direction (Psalm 23:3). He will make the right way clear, (Psalm 18:36) straightforward (Proverbs 3:6) and calm. In other words, God leads us in ways of life and peace.
Sometimes, it can be hard for us to appreciate all that God is doing to protect our day-to-day lives, and what we face in the future. Yet, perhaps it will help if we look more closely at the words spoken in 1 Samuel 2:9
“He will guard your feet” is not a promise proclaimed by David, whose story is throughout the book of Samuel, and who was a fighter, God’s anointed king, and a man after God’s own heart. Instead, this truth given to us is the reassuring statement of an ordinary woman with life experiences not much different than our own.
It is Hannah who said that God would protect her and safeguard the direction of her life.
Hannah knew great disappointment in her life. She desperately wanted to get pregnant, but each month her body reminded her she was not able to. Yet, she knew God would satisfy your needs in the barren desert (Isaiah 58:11). The barren woman has a houseful of children, she says, while the mother of many is bereft (1 Samuel 2:5 MSG).
Hannah lived with friction in her home. Not with her husband but his other wife, Peninnah, who liked to make a mockery of Hannah’s infertility. It’s not like Hannah could escape from this taunting. These two women had to share the same kitchen, living room, and even the same faith when they visited the temple together as a family. Yet, she knew the Lord does what is right and fair for all who are wronged by others (Psalm 103:6). The Lord judges, she says, throughout the earth (1 Samuel 2:10 NLT).
In her wretched situation, Hannah had an extraordinary faith in God her Lord. She trusted God. She knew God was watching over her and directing her steps.
Disappointed, misunderstood, taunted, and even mistaken by Eli, the priest at the temple, Hannah stayed strong throughout her problems by relying on God’s supernatural strength to make steady her steps and direct her life.
Where in your day-to-day life, no matter how ordinary, do you need to be bold and have extraordinary faith? Where do you need to trust that God will make your steps secure?
I want to trust you completely
With the direction of my life.
Thank you for your promise
To not let me slip
To not let me make wrong turns
To not let me stumble and fall.
I am so grateful
For your providence—
Your protective care
Over my life.