Journal Entry // December 19, 2021
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 ESV
This message from Habakkuk moves from questioning God with complaints about his purposes in this world to humble reliance upon the grace and mercy of the Lord. This last portion of the message is always so encouraging to me. Habakkuk begins this portion by listing off the different struggles that threaten life in his day. Fig trees not blossoming, no fruit on the vine, no olives, no harvest from the field, the flock and herd are no more. These are the personal disasters of my life pilling up on one on another. So that not only does today bring challenge and trouble, but the future is now in doubt as well. I feel this with Habakkuk and I understand and experience this worry with him – an anxiousness for the future.
So when anxiety and worry reach out and take hold of my heart, how does Habakkuk encourage me? He helps me remember that none of these challenges are beyond my strength because my strength comes from the Lord. When I look at the challenges of life and feel the disappointment and hurt of the present moment along with the anxiety and concern for the future, I readily begin to fear the struggles because I know how weak and freak I really am. But my weakness in this moment is turned to strength as I turn to the Lord in humility. Nothing is out of his control and nothing has taken the Lord by surprise. He is sovereign over all things and in all things my Father works for my good.
He not only gives me strength to endure, but he gives sure footing on the high places of the mountain. I think back to the times I have been hiking up and down a steep slope. Each step was taken with great care and precaution because one misstep and I would go tumbling down, unable to stop my fall. In the times of anxiousness and uncertainty God gives me the surety of each step along the path. Like a deer walking in high places is nimble and graceful, so too does God give me grace to walk in my high places of trouble and anxiety.
It’s helpful to remember that God does not always take the anxiety and trouble away. Rather he gives me strength and grace to walk the path. Now the path leads out of the trouble, oftentimes, but the path must lead through the trouble. Why? Because I need to better understand how to trust the Lord. I need to better understand that faith in Christ is tested and tried in the fiery trials of life. That these struggles of anxiety and fear help reveal my weakness and the fallacy of trusting in my own strength. My weakness makes me strong as my faith matures. And as my faith matures, Jesus is glorified. I continue to bring the light of his grace to every dark corner of my heart and see the true freedom of understanding that everything does not depend on me. I can live in faith that my heavenly Father loves me. He will guide and lead me to himself. And there I will find true rest and peace.