Can you see it? The mud – surrounding my feet – grabbing, pulling down like weights as I attempt to lift myself out of the mire. The picture of mire is entrap; “Do not not be mired in the past”. Stuck? Slipping on the mud? Then I gain footing on a rock that lifts me UP and OUT of the clay. Firm footing.
Psalm 40: 2 says God brought me UP, OUT of the miry clay. I think I have it figured out and then I was surprised to learn that miry came from the word meaning to shoe – to protect and provide firm footing. How, I wonder, can the MUD do any good?
A while back my granddaughter thought she would get me running. Got the gear, got the enthusiasm, got the good weather. We set out and ran about ¼ block when I twisted my knee on an uneven square of sidewalk.
My path that day was not level – but I could have missed the injury if I had been watching the path. Instead I was looking ahead.
Psa. 40:2 … firm. Comes from }aman, aw-man´; a primitive root; properly, to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (Isa. 30:21; interchangeable with 541) to go to the right hand:—hence, assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.
This verse talks about firm footsteps. Firm only happens with confidence and guidance. Balance only happens with practice and training. Without the mud, would I recognize or appreciate the rocks? Without the mud would I learn the balance of what I can lean into, fully trust my weight upon, and what looks benign, but hides danger? Can I see the beauty behind the ‘mud treatments’ of life. What do you see in the picture above? The ice revealed hidden beauty seen only from above and as the light shown upon it.
Imagine the difference of crossing the same path blindfolded. If I cannot see, I will be forced to depend on hearing direction or receiving nudges (or a 2×4 upside the slow to hear part of my body). If I do not listen, I will surely step or fall into the mud. I will be mired in that which tries to slow down my pace. It would stop it altogether and swallow me up like quicksand if it could.
But it cannot. There are rocks – stepping stones provided. The mud – the mire – can do nothing but what I allow and gains strength only when I refuse to climb up on the rock.
Like so many, when the Lord rescued me, I was IN the pit. IN the miry clay. I was stuck there, spinning my wheels, and sharing my mud with anyone who tried to get close enough to help. Imagine my refusing to take the hand up and out, instead insisting, I got myself into this, I will get myself out.
Psa. 40:2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay;
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
On the other hand, once I allow the master to SET my feet – (put in a specified position, and put into a specified state.)
I am able to go straight, go on, advance…with firm, faithful, confident footsteps.
I may still be
Dripping with the miry clay
But I am up from it
Looking down at that pitiful pit from whence I came
My feet are set –upon the rock
And I am able to move forward
With one firm footstep
At a time.
Recommended additional reading: Watchman Nee’s book – Sit, Walk, Stand.