Like the Feet of a Deer

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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.

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