Can I admit something to you? It’s not something I am proud of. It’s not the sort of thing I want on my ministry résumé.
But here it is anyway:
I harbor so many unspoken fears about what my future holds. I fear future pain. I fear the inevitable struggles. I fear losing people I love. I fear abandonment. I fear becoming a has-been. I fear falling behind. At times, I even fear dying.
And then, of course, I end up feeling like a complete hypocrite because my whole ministry, as a writer and speaker, is built around the idea of trusting God. This virtue of trusting God also plays into my chief aim as a parent. More than anything, I want to teach our daughters to trust God above all else, and then I want to model that behavior in my own life.
Yet, while I really do want to trust God with my whole life, I occasionally return to my annoying, old habit of asking God to follow the plans I have carefully drawn up for my life. (Yes, I’m bossy like that. Tell me I’m not the only one.)
At the very least, wouldn’t it be nice if the Lord would hand us a map, so we know how to get where we are going and how to avoid all the potholes and rugged roads of life’s journey?
This morning, I had to refresh my memory about the truth that God’s in control. I call it “re-remembering what I re-forgot.” I re-remembered a sentence I wrote in my book It’s All Under Control. “We ask for a map, but instead Jesus gives us a compass and says, ‘Follow me.’”
Oh yeah, that.
God doesn’t give us a map. He doesn’t show us where the rugged roads are, even though He knows exactly their locations. He also doesn’t chastise us for being afraid. Instead, He strengthens us! And that strength involves shoes. I’m not kidding. Stick with me.
The other day, I ran onto a brief but life-changing promise in the book of Deuteronomy. It was so brief that I almost missed it, and at first, I didn’t even understand it.
The words were these: “The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days” (Deuteronomy 33:25, NIV).
All right, Lord. I’m intrigued. Tell me more. (We’re almost to the part about the shoes, I promise.)
As I tried to make sense of this verse, I read commentaries and eventually read the King James Version of Deuteronomy 33:25. And that’s when I had a “Wow, God” moment. The King James Version renders the verse this way: “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (emphasis added).
Ladies, check out those shoes, would you? We don’t know what we’ll face in the days and years ahead, but God has already given us the proper footwear — made of the toughest materials. (I’ve recently put in a request for a touch of leopard print, with a slight heel. Yes, I even boss God around when it comes to His provisions.)
I don’t want us to miss this: God provides iron shoes for those of us on the rugged road. And, what’s more, He promises that “your strength will equal your days.”
Translation: For every single day of your life, no matter how rugged the road, how intense the fear, how deep the uncertainty, how difficult the circumstance, you will have the strength required for the journey.
Lace up, friend. We’ve got a road to walk, and we don’t walk it alone.
No matter how rugged the road, how intense the fear, how deep the uncertainty, how difficult the circumstance, you will have the strength required for the journey. -@dukeslee: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Jennifer, I love this reminder. Thank you for sharing it! And the line from It’s All Under Control…I remind myself of that line quite often. I think it is on page 12 or 13! Oh, and leopard print with a slight heel would look great in you! 😉
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
You know I had to get in some leopard print. I would suggest that the Bible should have read leopard print, instead of iron, but I’m pretty sure God doesn’t make typos. 🙂
Thanks for the encouragement.
I loved this! It’s a message that I need to hear over and over again, especially when it comes to being a parent. I want so desperately to protect my daughter from all harm, but I know that I need to put her care in the arms of God.
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
Elizabeth, As a mom of two daughters, I empathize with your comment so much. When I am tempted to rescue and protect and fix, I keep reminding myself: “Jennifer, you wanted your daughters to learn to rely on JESUS, not their mother.”
Just another reason I prefer KJV bible! It was what I was raised with. My dad was a Christian minister and this is what I can understand. My father passed away over 12 years ago, but I still have his bible. I still read and understand this version. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story.
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
I rarely read KJV in full, but my little research project with these verses reminded me how rich, deep, and true that translation is.
Speaking to my heart! Thank you, Jennifer, thank you!
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
Glad this spoke to your heart, Kelly. God bless you this day.
Thank you for your honesty, it is good to know I am not the only one fearful of the uncertainties of this life! Whew! I am thankful for your transparent heart because He knows it anyway! Thankful that our wonderful Father has provided the “ shoes” and the strength we need for each day as His grace is sufficient! Wonderful post Jennifer!
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
Hi Darlene, You definitely aren’t alone. Sometimes I am surprised at how I can move from God-fidence and deep trust, to knee-shaking moments of fear. So glad that God holds us close, no matter how “together” or “un-together” we happen to be.
Darlene Underwood says
I could not have said anything better myself!
Thank you so much for your article. It was exactly what I needed after a birthday when I received a beautiful healing from God during my counseling session with a Christian man and then all hell broke loose as people where I live were used by the devourer to attack me. Praise God that I received the beautiful healing. God and I have a joke between us when at age 72 and a lot of trials He allows Satan to attack me. (Thank God that He is in control.) I tell Him that I am strong enough for me and happy to be this strong when I die. Then I cry out to Him for strength.
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
May God protect you and strengthen you in your time of trial, Laurel. Satan is no respecter of persons, is he? He pretty much goes after all of us — regardless of age, position, upbringing. If we are into Jesus, he is “onto” us, but the truth is: God has the ability to kick him OUT. And in fact, the victory is already ours. Amen?
TAMMIE BRAY says
THANKS FOR THE REMINDER THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL AND HAS PROVIDED US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR THE JOURNEY THAT HE HAS PLANNED FOR US. THIS IS SO POWERFUL!!
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
Yay, Tammie! So glad this encouraged you today. Have a fabulous day. Today, for the journey, I need about six sweaters and a snow suit. It’s -14 here in Iowa! 🙂
Thank you so much for this…I really needed it this morning! I have just reached another “rugged road” section of my journey that I really wasn’t expecting. Thank you for the reminder that God has already equipped me with the strength I need to get through it. And no, you are definitely not the only one with a “habit of asking God to follow the plans I have carefully drawn up for my life”.
Yay, love this! God is so good.
Kellie Johnson says
“your strength will equal your days”…He provides perfectly. Thank you for the reminder that He will do it. This passage is on my radar now and I intend to let it settle and pass it along. Thank you Jennifer 🙂
Jana Snyder says
Wow – you’re talking right to me, Jennifer! I love the words “your strength will equal your days.” The promise that I won’t run out of God’s grace/strength before I run out of days!
Well spoken, Jennifer! Yes, we all have our doubts at times. I had to reassure (once again) my 95 year old hospice patient that we are saved by God’s grace. We will enter heaven on His merits, not our own. And, yes, her husband is in heaven waiting for her now. And she will go there, when her time comes. Even now, she looks for reassurance, and shoes made of iron.
Jennifer, “You’re not the only one!” Thank you for sharing!
Donna Purdy says
Thank you so much Jennifer for sharing this post! I really needed to hear this! You really spoke to my heart through our Heavenly Father. Everything on fearing this and fearing that is totally me! I am so broken and have felt so alone. You are truly a blessing. I thank you again ❤️❤️❤️
I so relate to everything you said! Thanks for your honesty and the reminder that God is in control.
Peace and Blessings,
Michele Morin says
LOVE this picturesque language about God’s provision.
And that second clause shows up in an old hymn:
“The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid.
‘As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure.’
This the pledge to me He made.” (~Day by Day)
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
We all have all fears Jennifer. I am proud of you for todays reading and writting what you wrote in todays reading. About yours. Mine is about the dark. I can’t go bed with curtains closed at night. I have to have Gods good Night light shining into my bedroom. My husband has got used to it. He remembers after getting into his night close on for bed to pull back the curtains. Let the night light shine in. I don’t know where it has come from. But had it as child. I not afraid of dying as I am saved. I know I will see Jesus all my saved Friends and Family that have gone before me and I look forward too that day in Gods perfect timing when he calls me home. I Pray for thoes of my Family not saved still to see the light in me and want what I have. That is Jesus for themselves. As I am my Husband on my side of the Family are the only ones saved. Sometimes we have put on that pair of boots like you said in todays reading and let Jesus help us climb all the difficult mountains we have to climb life. Even when saved. Yes some will be harder to climb than others and harder to get over. Especially if people have said of done things to hurt us. Or we have lost a love one close to us. Or if it an illness etc. We have to put or boots on and walk each step with Jesus in these times. Know Jesus is with us to help us get through it all. Go to Jesus in prayer. Plus stand on his word the Bible and the Promises in it. Plus put on the Armor of God. Don’t let the Old Devil fill your mind with things that are not of God. Put on praise music. Tell the Old Devil Gods word back to him. It not easy but with our boots on and Jesus help we can climb these mountains and smile again. Thank you for todays reading. Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx
Thank you for this Jennifer. I’ve struggled a lot with fear lately. 2019 was a rough year for me (moving overseas 3x in 1.5 years definitely had it’s toll on me) but now that I’m doing better, I’m struggling a lot with fear & control issues in multiple areas of my life (esp. my relationship with my boyfriend) and I’m just so weary of it! I also feel so annoyed at myself for ‘blocking’ myself like this; I just feel like a mess I guess. I’m trying to trust God and love myself (&my boyfriend) better and will use this blogpost to remind myself of truths. Thank you. And sorry for my whining here!
Beth Williams says
Life gets hard & crazy down here. It can even seem scary at times. One lesson I’ve learned over the years is that God will give us trials, but those trials strengthen us. I’ve had my share of trials & difficulties. They made me more readily able to trust God in each & every situation. Plus I’m more ready than ever to leave this Earth & be with Jesus. So much dissention & sadness down here. Thank you for the interesting take on Deuteronomy 33:25. God knows the journey He has for each of us. He will equip us for that trek. He understands our fear & uncertainty of the future. He will walk along side us the whole way.
oh my, I needed to hear this today… “thy strengths shall equal the number of your days “ … I used to tell God often, please take me home, I don’t have any more strength to go on … I am afraid sometimes that one more struggle or one more trial, then I will lose my mind as I won’t stand it anymore … But God says “your strengths shall equal your days” … Thank you so much for sharing Jennifer,
Dawn Blevins says
Thank you from the depths of everything I hold dear for this. thank you. Truly, sincerely.
Becky Beresford says
Loved this Jennifer! 🙂
I struggle with fear often… today in fact. I struggle accepting that God has good things for me and instead, I believe the rug will be pulled out from underneath me. It’s gross. And I feel like an absolute hypocrite as I write and speak and encourage women to trust in the kindness and love of our God.
But God has us write from where we are at in order to show others: 1.) we are human 2.) they are not alone 3.) God is the great redeemer and restorer. I write for others but first of all, my Jesus has me write for me… for my heart and my relationship with Him.
So thank you for laying it out there and being open! I love it. 🙂 It reminds me I’m not alone and I have a Sister out there who is lacing you her iron shoes with me.
What a gift!
Love this ❤️
Jennifer, I was sure you were going to talk about the shoes in the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6! What a happy surprise – I love when things are revealed in scripture. I love to compare the different versions of scripture. Sometimes you find a hidden treasure!
I especially love that you wrote about wearing these shoes on our journey. I have kind of a “thing,” about talking about our journey.
Thank you for this as I often struggle with fear too. This week I was studying the sandals of peace, in Ephesians. So now, I will picture my sandals of IRON, and how strength is truly rooted in the peace of Christ even when our circumstances are overwhelmingly scary.
DONNA Jean KNOBLOCK says
Thank you,I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and battle fear for my future. I’ll hold on to Deuteronomy 33:25
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I, too, can be a bit bossy. I inform God about my plans for my life. I have also been known to attempt to “bargain” with God. If I do _________, will You, God promise to not ____________. I decide what I can and cannot handle. Thanks for this poignant reminder to relinquish control, utterly rely and depend upon Him, and know that my God given strength will equal my days. His grace is sufficient.
Bethany McIlrath says
So much to love here. You’re not the only one, and I’m glad I’m also not the only one. Now to (lace up? Weld on?) those shoes…
Thank you! This is encouraging. I’m trying harder to hear His voice and see His path. It is difficult. You are natural, real, and nearly a neighbor so I trust your words. Saved on Pinterest w/ your byline and saved the image to hopefully have printed. ♥