The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer
able to tread upon the heights. (NLT)
If you have ever seen mountain goats in a zoo or in the wild, you will notice they seem to be able to live and move in dangerous places. Somehow they get footholds in ways that appear impossible to us. They seem to be safe in seemingly unsafe places.
Such is the image given to us at the very end of the book of Habakkuk. Like us, the prophet finds himself in dangerous places where we seem in danger of falling. Evildoers triumph, injustice reigns, and on a more personal level troubles overwhelm us. We suffer and those we love suffer so as to increase our suffering.
Into this bleak scenario, the prophet speaks reassuring words. Reminding us that God may well choose not to rescue us from apparently perilous or unsafe situations. He rather promises to sustain us in those situations. A good prayer to pray at times like these is that God will be pleased to deliver us from the danger but if he chooses not to, then he will help us endure the danger.
He may choose not to deliver us to some new safe place, but to make the place where we are now in a place of safety even if it seems unsafe. He will give us sure footholds as we cling to the crevices he provides. He may choose to have us live as mountain goats on a rocky slope before inviting us to be his sheep in green pastures.