This morning I was drawn to a Scripture in Habakkuk 3:19, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk had asked God why evil people prosper while the righteous suffer. God’s answer: they don’t, not in the long run. Habakkuk saw his own limitations in contrast to God’s unlimited control of all the world’s events. God is alive and in control of the world and its events. We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do. But we can be assured that He is God and will do what is right. Knowing this can give us confidence and hope in a confusing world.
As I mentioned yesterday, whenever I depend upon my own strength, I fail. God will give His followers surefooted confidence through difficult times. They will run like deer across rough and dangerous terrain. At the proper time, God will bring about His justice and completely rid the world of evil. In the meantime, God’s people need to live in the strength of His Spirit, confident in His ultimate victory.
The Lord not only gave us grace to save us from our sinfulness, but He provides His grace for living a holy life. After I poured over this passage this morning, I read the following devotional from Dr. Charles Stanley that seemed to put an exclamation point on the passage from Habakkuk.
I thought the Christian life was going to be easier than this. Have these words ever entered your mind? Sometimes we come into the family of God thinking that our heavenly Father will fix all our problems and devote Himself to our happiness and comfort. However, that is not the reality portrayed in Scripture. Paul was a man whom the Lord used greatly, and yet his life was anything but easy.
In fact, at one point, the apostle thought his pain was too much to bear, and he begged God to remove it (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). There’s nothing wrong with asking the Lord to relieve our suffering, but what should our response be if He doesn’t? Paul probably had no idea that His experience would find its way into the Bible, to comfort and guide believers throughout the ages. The promise God gave him applies to us as well: “My grace is sufficient for you” (v. 9).
God’s grace could be defined as His provision for us at the point of our need. The problem is that sometimes it doesn’t seem as if the Lord truly is meeting our need. But He frequently sees deficiencies, outcomes, and complications that we don’t. His goals for us involve spiritual growth, the development of Christlike character, and strong faith. And trials play a vital role in achieving these.
The important issue is how we respond. If all you want is relief, you could descend into anger and doubt. But if your desire is to become the person God wants you to be, you’ll see each trial as an opportunity for Christ to display His character and strength in you.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)