The Shepherd kindly replies, “I could carry you all the way up to the High Places myself, instead of leaving you to climb there. But if I did, you would never be able to develop hinds’ feet, and become my companion and go where I go.”
Much-Afraid echoes the questions of the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk (and if I’m honest, my questions too): “Why must I experience suffering?” “Why is my journey difficult?”
Habakkuk lived in Judah in the late seventh century bc before the Israelites were taken into exile. The prophet found himself in a society that overlooked social injustice and was immobilized by the fear of imminent invasion by the Babylonians (Habakkuk 1:2–11). He asked the Lord to intervene and remove suffering (1:13). God replied that He would act justly but in His timing (2:3).
In faith, Habakkuk chose to trust the Lord. Even if the suffering did not end, the prophet believed that God would continue to be his strength.
We too can take comfort that the Lord is our strength to help us endure suffering and will also use the most challenging of life’s journeys to deepen our fellowship with Christ.
God, sometimes my suffering seems too much to bear. Help me to trust You and continue to walk with You on this journey.
We can trust the Lord to be our strength in tough times.
Because the culture we live in differs from that of the biblical writers, our understanding of the significance of the pictures they paint can be limited. Today’s passage expresses deep and foundational hope in the midst of great suffering.
Verse 17 lists six things that constituted their major sources of food and clothing—figs, grapes, olives, fields, sheep, and cattle. In essence, Habakkuk is painting a picture of being starving and naked. He is suggesting that even at death’s door—without food or clothing (vv. 18–19)—we can still experience deep joy and trust in the Lord.
Have you experienced a time when all your resources were depleted? How did God teach you to trust in Him?