A promise from the book of Habakkuk has been a long time stabilizing verse for me, and likely many others, as it is often quoted by people. The verse says, “The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:19, NASB). This verse has supercharged my faith during difficult trials, but perhaps for the wrong reason.
You see, when meditating upon this verse I have bypassed the first promise within the verse to relish in the comparatively inferior promise at the end of the verse. While in the valley of trial and struggle, I would daydream by visualizing myself as a triumphant deer standing at the mountain pinnacle with only the skyline higher than me. The vision of this pinnacle under my feet symbolized success to me. All of the hard work, the difficult terrain, the near slips, and the unsteady rocks along the journey have all given way to the sturdy accomplished ground beneath my feet. Ahh, sweet victory!
But what about the lower places? The valley? Would one dare descend with God as trustingly as one ascends? Are the lower valleys of descent also promised, uh… high places?
The first person to pen the words quoted by Habakkuk was David, who became the King of Israel. David’s feet were certainly familiar with the rugged terrain of the mountains that became his hiding place from King Saul. Fleeing from King Saul likely took David on a descending and ascending journey, yet for David the strength was found in God’s presence rather than in the pinnacle destination. David’s heart overflowed with the words of worship, “The God who encircles me with strength, and makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like deer’s feet, and sets me up on my high places.” (Psalm 18:32-33, NASB)
“The prophet (Habakkuk) had to traverse the deep places of poverty and famine, but he went downhill without slipping, for the Lord gave him standing. By-and-by he was called to the high places of the hills of conflict; and he was no more afraid to go up than to go down. See the Lord lent him strength!” ~ Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, Daily Readings by C.H. Spurgeon
I am learning that my willingness to descend into the valley with God as easily as I ascend to the pinnacle with God will test my devotion to the superior promise of this comforting verse…
“The Lord God is my strength”… period.