The sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights ~ Habakkuk 3: 19
As a lover of the outdoors and nature, I’m always intrigued when I see references in scripture to nature and wildlife. Memorizing scripture has never been easy for me, and I love having visual reminders to help me focus on God’s amazing truth.
I am reminded of Habakkuk 3: 19 each time I see a deer leap across the road when I’m driving down the mountainside or when I watch a deer munching on leaves in the backyard. It’s a much-needed reminder on days when I don’t feel very strong.
The verse has even more meaning for me after suffering a broken ankle last year, especially on those days when my ankle flares up and walking normally is a challenge.
What does it mean to have feet like a deer? The deer referred to in Habakkuk 3: 19 is a red female deer called a hind. The hind is known for being surefooted. Its hind feet land precisely in the same spot where the front feet stepped. It can ascend and descend rocky mountainous terrain with agility and gracefulness. Its powerful legs enable it to leap over obstacles with ease.
When everything is going great in life, it’s easy to feel surefooted and strong, but what happens when life falls apart and nothing seems to be going right?
The prophet, Habakkuk, was experiencing a time of extreme hardship when he penned the verse above. Wickedness and oppression surrounded him. In fact, when the book of Habakkuk opens, we see Habakkuk questioning God.
How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife and conflict abounds.
It’s easy to understand how the prophet felt. Our world today is filled with violence and wrongdoing. It seems like everywhere we look we see immorality and crime escalating. Do you ever feel like you pray and nothing changes? I sure do. It is disheartening to watch good people suffer and those bent on evil continuing to have their way with innocent people.
Habakkuk questioned God and was in distress, but he made the choice to rejoice in God in the midst of devastation and a time of severe testing. We also have a choice to make when we are being tested or feel discouraged by the events taking place around us.
Too often, I settle for the lower ground rather than the heights. My feet and legs feel weary when I’m going through tough times. I focus on trying to fix whatever injustice or problem I’m facing. I don’t trust in God enough for the outcome. I do it my way. I go through the motions of daily life, settling for a life of mediocrity, wobbly legs, and feeble attempts to change things.
It never ends well. I always end up realizing that without 100% faith and trust in God, I will never be strong enough to get through any trial or difficult circumstance on my own.
Why should we ever settle for the lowland when we can ascend the heights? Why walk around on wobbly legs when we can have the feet of a deer? Like Habakkuk, we can say, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength.” We can make the decision to rejoice when it seems as if there is little to be joyful about.
God has more for us than just going through the motions of life or settling for life in the lowlands. He provides the strength we need to be surefooted. He enables us to leap across the obstacles of life. He gives us peace in the midst of hardship.
God will not tolerate evil forever. In his perfecting timing, justice will prevail. He allows things to happen for a reason and a purpose. We have to trust him when things don’t make sense. Those who remain faithful will be rewarded.
Are you ready to ascend to a higher place ? Then inhale deeply and breathe in the pristine air. Remember that God is in control. You have the feet of a deer. Have faith. Trust God. Life on the heights is breathtaking.
I often wonder how many aspiring writers live in the comfort zone, lulled to sleep by a false sense of security. They know God has called them to write, but the fear of rejection and exposing their vulnerability is too frightening.
It’s much safer to remain in the comfort zone. There is no risk of failure in the comfort zone, and it requires little effort to remain there.
Aspiring writers think about leaving the comfort zone at times, but the same old nagging doubts and questions hold them captive.
Did God really call me to be a writer? I’m not good enough. There are plenty of great writers out there; I could never measure up to any of them. What if I try and fail? I don’t have time to write. I’m too busy. I’ll start next week, next month, next year. When the children grow up I will write.
Another day, week, month or year passes. Eventually, the years turn into decades or a lifetime. The aspiring writer dies, falsely secure in her comfort zone, and the words and stories God called her to write dies along with her.
In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30, we learn about three servants who were given talents by God. They all three received a different amount of talents to invest while their master was away.
Two of the servants used their talents wisely and were rewarded by the master when he returned. They both heard their master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
The third servant hid his talent and didn’t use it. He tried to appease the master by making excuses for not investing his talent. He stated, “I was afraid.” The master rebuked him, called him wicked and lazy, said he was a worthless servant, and ordered him to be thrown outside into the darkness.
The third servant was a resident of the comfort zone. He made excuses and allowed fear to prevent him from investing in his talent.
What can we learn from the parable of the talents?
- God gives different talents to each person
- Work is required to invest talents
- God expects a return on the talents he gives us
- God rewards us according to how we use our talents
God gives each of us unique gifts and talents to invest in his kingdom. We are responsible for investing our talents. God will take care of the results of our work.
As a former comfort-zone resident, I understand the doubts and insecurities of being a writer. Fear literally crippled me at times. One thing that helped push me out of my comfort zone was when I heard a pastor say that God does not want a popular or famous servant. He simply wants an obedient one.
I felt such freedom when I realized I simply needed to be obedient and write.
As Christian writers, we don’t need to impress anyone but God. It doesn’t matter how many followers we have on Twitter or how many “likes” we have on Facebook. Being obedient to use our gifts is what counts in the end.
I’m aware of the need in today’s publishing industry to self-promote our work on social media and the importance of having a good following. There is nothing wrong with doing what is necessary for success in the book publishing industry. However, obeying the call to write should be our main focus, not self-promotion.
Leaving the comfort zone is scary, but staying in the comfort zone is even more frightening when you study the parable of the talents. Like the three servants, one day we will also give an account to our master for how wisely we invested our talents.
And our master won’t be checking to see if our punctuation was always perfect or if we had a few grammar mistakes here and there. He won’t care if we were famous authors or not. He won’t look at how many people read our blog or the reviews about our books. He won’t be checking Facebook likes or Twitter followers to determine our reward.
Like the servants in the parable of the talents, it will all come down to one thing – obedience in using the talents he gave us.
Are you a comfort-zone resident? Break free. You don’t have to fear what will happen when you step outside the comfort zone and begin using your talent. Simply obey the call. God will do the rest.
Forgive me for all the times I turned to food for comfort instead of you.
Help me to remember that food does not heal emotional pain or sickness.
When I feel unloved, remind me of the power of your everlasting love.
When I feel alone, remind me that you will never leave me or forsake me.
When others break promises or hurt my feelings, remind me that I can always trust in your promises and your faithfulness.
When I am worried and afraid, remind me of your protection and reassure me of your constant presence in the midst of every difficulty.
When I feel ugly or worthless, remind me of the depth of your love for me and that I’m a daughter of the King.
When I grow tired and weary from the cares of life, remind me that you are the one who restores my soul and gives me rest.
When I worry about finances, remind me of your faithful provision and the eternal inheritance I have in you.
When I feel tempted to reach for food to comfort my emotions, remind me that you will provide a way out of every temptation I face.
When I feel it’s impossible to change my unhealthy eating habits, remind me that nothing is too difficult or impossible with you by my side.
Binge eating and gluttony are sins. Help me to repent and turn from them.
Help me to develop self-control by allowing your spirit to lead me rather than being lead astray by my own fleshly desires.
Remind me that obesity and food addiction leads to poor health and misery rather than the abundant life you desire for me.
When I feel dismayed by past failures, remind me that your mercies are new every morning, and each day is a chance to start fresh.
When I accuse others or blame my circumstances for my emotional eating, remind me to stop making excuses and take responsibility for my own actions.
Help me to conquer the idolatry of food addiction, so I have no other gods before you.
Remind me that I am a new creation in you; I am no longer enslaved to former habits and sinful desires.
Help me to remember that the choices I make each day will impact my future. I will always reap what I sow. Help me to choose wisely.
In Jesus’ name,