GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:19)
Poor old Habakkuk has not had an easy time of it. He has seen wicked people prosper, and the Babylonian invasion is close. It is easy at times like that just to slip into a puddle of gloom, to shake your head at the sheer unfairness of it all. Yet here, right at the end of the book, we find the prophet’s praise of God.
We would do well to pay attention to the words. Often in these emails I have written of God being our strength, of being our refuge. I have tapped away at the keyboard to urge you to call upon God so that, through his Holy Spirit, he might strengthen you. I wonder, though, if that has given you impression of simply having the strength to grin and bear it? To grit your teeth and get on through.
Here the prophet of old gives evidence of something greater. “he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on high places”. This is not trudging through adversity, but a divine sure footedness. It is following a difficult path without stumbling. It is being able to go up to the “high places” and rise above your troubles.
Christianity is not just hope after you die, or even simply the moral courage to keep on going. It is knowing the indwelling presence of God in times of real stress and struggle. It is being able to leap like a deer, and experience the high places of closeness with God even in the midst of toil.
There is a reality to Christianity, and acknowledgement that suffering comes. But you do not suffer alone.