Frogs, insects, and anything that moves along the ground, or has four legs, scare me (probably more than they should!). So, when a tree frog “somehow” made its way into our house one night, I was totally afraid and creeped out.
“How did that get in here?” I wondered. “And how on earth will we get it out?”
No one in the house wanted to touch the thing, so, how would we get it out? I didn’t have any answers to that question, so I just stood in the kitchen, staring at the little creature hopping from here to there. As I watched it, it was amazing to me (and a little gross) how it could leap and jump around (on walls, the floor, the deep freezer), without losing its footing.
As I sat in the kitchen the next morning eating my breakfast, I thought back to the now absent little critter’s movements (one of my sisters had finally become bold enough to conquer it and sent it to its rightful place). I thought about the reason it was able to glide and move around so freely, without losing its footing—the form of its feet. (Tree frogs have sticky pads on their toes. The angle of their toe pads and a secretion of mucus give them the ability to stick to different types of surfaces.)
This illumination reminded me of a very familiar passage of the Bible, one that I’ve come to love and declare for my life. It’s also one that God often reminds me of when my mind wanders away from it and onto the difficulties that lie in front of me. The passage is Habakkuk 3, verses 17-19. These verses read:
Though the fig tree does not bud
And there are no grapes on the vines,
Though the olive crop fails
And the fields produce no food,
Though there are no sheep in the pen
And no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.
This declaration of Habakkuk’s stemmed from the knowledge God had bestowed upon him about the difficulty and calamity coming upon the Israelites (by the hands of the Babylonians), for their rebellion and disobedience. As a result of the coming destruction, Habakkuk would lose everything, even those whom he loved. However, in spite of this, Habakkuk would not charge God with wrong, or with being unfaithful; instead, he would rejoice in God.
How could Habakkuk rejoice at such a time as was coming? He could rejoice because he knew that his faithful God was his strength, and that he had equipped him for the journey. The Sovereign LORD is my strength, he says. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to tread on the heights.
The deer’s feet (or hooves) are made for climbing rough places, for treading on the highest heights, for running across rock fields, all without trepidation. All in all, deer, because of their feet, can travel along the most difficult ground and not be bothered by it. In the same way, God had equipped Habakkuk for the difficult journey ahead of him. Although Habakkuk, like us, would likely have avoided this difficult journey if he could have, he could not, and therefore, he would trust God to enable him to do what he could not do on his own—the Sovereign LORD would be his strength.
And He will be ours.
In this life, pain is inevitable; we were promised trouble (John 16:33). But, through it all, we can take solace in the sovereignty of our Lord. Our Lord will never bring us into difficulty accidentally, nor will He leave us in it to fend for ourselves (Hebrews 13:5). No, in all things God is with us, and in all things He has a higher purpose and plan. We won’t always see the plan fully, or what’s taking place spiritually in the natural; however, we know that in all things He works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Rest in that truth, my sisters.