Not sure if you know this, but I live on some pretty flat land. I mean, we have a few hills here and there, like the big one in the graveyard we used to call “Dead Man’s Hill” which was about the most fun to ride your bike down pedaling full tilt for a ten year old. 

But mostly, around here? Flat. See miles into the distance when there aren’t the tall North Carolina pines in the way flat.

But a few weeks ago, our little crew made a journey into the mountains in southwestern North Carolina. Topography that’s more the speed of my mountain-biking Hero Hubs. Views that I love, where you really can stare for miles over the tops of the trees to the hills beyond the hills beyond the hills in the distance.

The tough thing is usually getting to those views, right?

We decided to take a hike on this most recent adventure — one I only belatedly discovered was labeled ‘strenuous’ on the map. But we chose it because we were certain it would be worth it, to stand and stare at an eighty foot waterfall nestled into the side of the mountain with all the little Collies in tow. 

I tried to stay super upbeat to keep the kiddos upbeat, and the enthusiasm super-charged the girls to want to take off running down the trail. Eventually, we were all in a line, going about as fast as our youngest’s little toddler legs would take her. At times, she was putting her hands down to help her balance as she stepped up steps that towered above her sweaty little knees.

It wasn’t an easy climb for our younger kiddos, but we did our best to cheer them on, to encourage them for how great they were doing, how proud they should be of their efforts, how wonderful the reward would be.

Our mountaintop adventure reminded me of this prayer Habbakuk, this prophet in the oldest testament prayed. He’d had this conversation with God where he questioned God about what was happening in his nation. It seemed like maybe God had forgotten or abandoned Israel. 

When God answered, he helped Habakkuk reframe his perspective. God helped him to recognize that he was living into a story bigger than himself. He was offered a choice to trust God to keep His promises, even if that first meant the impending destruction of his nation would come to pass. 

The whisper in the words seems to say, “I am doing something. Yes, the wicked will have their day… but not forever.” The whisper promises:

“For the earth will be filled 
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.” {Hab. 2:14}

Babylon was not going to hold Israel in captivity forever. God would rise up and set things right. It seemed like maybe Habakkuk’s question changed from “Why does God allow this?” to “Who is this God who will sustain me in the things he allows?” 

Habakkuk makes this incredible declaration in the midst of this really, really hard place:

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines,
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls —
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
{Hab. 3:17-19}

Here’s something I don’t recall ever belting out at the top of my lungs so far in this life:

“Even if everything is going totally wrong, Lord, I will rejoice in You!”

“Lord, even if I don’t have food of any kind, and all my efforts are failing, I will joy in You!”

But in order to live into the bigger story, and in order to climb up and get the big perspective that comes from being on the mountaintop? Gosh, maybe that’s exactly what we have to declare.

If we declare our faith in Him no matter what — maybe He helps us get the perspective that even when things don’t seem right right now, even when the steps I’m climbing are up to my thighs and I have to put my hands down to help steady me as I bring up one foot, and then the other, well, gosh, I’ll just keep climbing and trust the Lord to do what He has promised.

There are these beautiful little creatures in South Africa called klipspringers. They are these small, sturdy little antelopes that perhaps measure two feet tall at the shoulder. They walk on the tips of their blunt little, cylindrical hooves, and practically dance their way over rocky terrain. They look like they’re walking on two big thick black toenails on each foot.

I love the thought that God can give us feet like that. Habakkuk trusted for feet like deer’s feet to make him walk on high hills. And I think — God can give us those feet. Not literally (gosh that would be awkward) but He can give us the ability to navigate very difficult terrain on the way to higher ground. And to others, it might look absolutely effortless. It doesn’t mean we aren’t going through hard places. It means somehow, even if we feel we’re in the valley, we trust God is bringing us toward a mountaintop where we can see from His perspective, where we can find hope to declare that we will joy in Him regardless of health or wealth, situation or station.

I whispered it to my kiddos, maybe sometimes it was plain speaking out loud:

“This is hard, but it will be worth it! Let’s keep going! You’ll be so glad you made it to the top!”

I wonder if God whispers something like that to us.

Any place in life worth getting to requires effort on our part — and God? He can make our feet like deer’s feet and give us the strength to keep climbing.

And when it was time to head back down the mountain to rest and that littlest Collie had all but given out? Her Daddy carried her the rest of the way.



Are you encouraged today? If so, you can subscribe to receive weekly Love, From Here and never miss a post by clicking right here. I’ll do a happy dance, and you’ll get encouraging words in your inbox every week! Definitely a win/win!