The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Habakkuk 3:19 Amplified
A friend gave me this verse this week, and its influence on my spirit has been massive. I thought about Hannah Hurnard’s little book, Hinds Feet on High Places, and what force it had on me as a young missionary. I determined not to be “Little Miss Much Afraid,” the main character of the book, who receives a new name from her Maker, “Grace and Glory.” To walk through suffering requires personal bravery—sometimes a Marine “Army of One!” And to walk through those high places of trouble and suffering, we must receive from the Lord God the new name that comes with the gift of strength and personal bravery, the ability to walk—not to stand still in terror. In grief crisis, I have stood still. I focused on myself and I wanted to run away from my life! Then I discovered David had thought of it first, when he wrote in Psalm 55,
My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest (Psalm 55:4-6)
Running away didn’t work for David, and it didn’t work for me either. So I heard the Word and comfort of Habakkuk. In the midst of great trial—terrifying unknown thick darkness—he prayed for three things (v. 2), things I pray for us as well who are working together through grief:
- Revive Your work. Lord, help us not to stand still in terror, but to keep walking, to keep trusting, and to be brave beyond our brokenness. It is Your work in us that makes it possible.
- Make Yourself known. The most frightening thing about grief crisis is that God seems so far away. Habakkuk must have felt the same way in the darkness of the exile that had fallen on a sinful nation. Habakkuk watched, brokenhearted, as the glory of a nation who bore the name of God’s people, turned their glory into shame. God, where are You in this madness? Just stop when the terrors of death have overwhelmed you and pray with Habakkuk, My Savior, make Yourself known to me!
- Remember mercy. When God has chosen for you to walk through suffering rather than be delivered from it, He will give you an ocean of mercy, through which you can navigate in the choppy waters of life to safety. Call upon Him to lavish His mercy upon you!
Perhaps Habakkuk was comforted by the words of David as he wrote this inspiring chapter. David knew that overcoming the troubles of life is the work of God—Here is David’s version of Habakkuk 3:19:
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands (Psalm 138:7-8).
My dear grieving friends, I pray that the great hope of Habakkuk will be yours today. Exchange your name of “Much Afraid” for His “Grace and Glory.” And when your grief is fresh, and overwhelming, and raw, and it seems there is no way to walk forward, I have one more word for you. It’s my favorite verse of Exodus 20, the Ten Commandments chapter—
“And Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” Walk in your high places of trouble, suffering, and crushing new responsibility, even though right now the darkness is thick. God is here!