Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food…Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength. And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
This year has been a particularly stressful year as a parent. We’re trying to help our oldest daughter decide on a university to attend next year. She has always assumed that she would be recruited onto a college softball team, and for the last two years, we’ve paid high dollar to have her on a select softball team that does extensive traveling to “exposure tournaments”–tournaments where lots of college coaches hang out, and look for players to recruit.
She has one softball coach from a renowned university who is looking at her very seriously, but she’s not sure at this point if it’s where she wants to go. Meanwhile, time is passing, college application deadlines are approaching (some are already closed), and we’re trying to get her to consider simply going to college without being on a softball team.
For our extremely strong-willed daughter, that is unthinkable. She can’t even imagine being in college apart from being on their softball team. She’s been playing since she was 9, and she loves the game. She’s really good at it, too–she’s almost always been the fastest runner on her teams. But if she chooses not to go to the university that really wants her, and she hasn’t applied to other universities, where does that leave us in August of next year?
Over the past year, I’ve had many moments when I’ve wanted to tear my hair out. So has her Dad. She’s not a kid who easily acquiesces to reason. She’s very bright, has excellent grades…and insists on doing everything her way.
Recently, as I was praying over my daughter’s future, it occurred to me that no matter what she does or doesn’t do, or what we do, or don’t do, God will get her to her destination. He is in command of her destiny; He created her DNA; He made her the strong-willed kid that she is. And He is able to get her where He wants her to go. I don’t have to freak out or worry about her future or fear that her life will go to heck in a handbag. God is in control of her destiny; I can stop trying to drive. Yes, I will continue to pray for her and her sister daily. Yes, I will do everything in my power to help steer them in the right direction. Beyond that, I can let go and let God.
The verse from Habakkuk above goes down a similar path. It talks about how we should react when everything seems to be going awry. Back then, people were solely dependent on what they produced from the earth. It was their commerce and their sustenance. So if the fig tree did not blossom, resulting in no figs; and there were no fruit or olives or produce in the fields; and if their flock of sheep should be cut off from the fold (so that they could not get back to their safe enclosure for the night and be subject to attack) and there were no cattle in the stalls, the people would have nothing–no food, no products to sell or barter, and no clothing.
Habakkuk was envisioning a worst-case scenario, which is what we all tend to do. What if this happens? What if that happens? And then he makes the point: even if the worst-case scenario does happen, he will exult in the Lord, and rejoice in the God of his salvation. Why?
Because he knows that no matter what happens, God is his strength, and He alone can elevate him above all his troubles. Only God can take us out of the midst of what seems like a really bad situation with no clear way out, and give us feet like hinds feet, and set us on our high places. A “hind” is a female red deer, and few are more sure-footed than they. One moment we can be knee-deep in a mud pit, and the next, we can be on top of the world, walking with sure-footed confidence. But only because God alone can deliver us. God will get us where He wants us to go. We can stop trying to drive. And the kind of high places God takes us to, we can’t take a car, anyway.
And what was the key to this? Exulting in the God of our salvation.
And one more thing…He will get us to our high places. These aren’t just any high places. There’s nothing generic about them. Our high places are part of our destiny. These are the high places He has ordained for us. These are the peaks of our lives: our successes, our prosperity, our spine-tingling “aha” moments, our life-altering events like the birth of our children, our ministry for His glory.
And He will get our daughters to their high places, no matter how much we as parents fret, freak out or fail.