Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18
Can you trust God apart from tangible blessings? Can you keep believing when the answer doesn't come ... at least in your timing? Can you continue to place your confidence in God when the answer is "No" to something that you've yearned for? Can your faith withstand disappointment and loss? Will you depend on God, not because of your circumstances, but in spite of them?
Those are the questions with which Habakkuk struggled. In his message to God, Habakkuk made it clear that he did not like what was going on in his life. And he really did not like God's plan to deal with the stuff going on in his life. We are a lot like Habakkuk, aren't we? We have expectations as to what should and shouldn't happen ... how God should and shouldn't work. But in his conversation with God, Habakkuk came to the sober and worshipful conclusion that we read in today's passage.
Can I rejoice in the midst of unmet expectations? Can I be joyful carrying around unfulfilled dreams? Can I sing the doxology when my job is eliminated? Can I quote praise passages when the sickness lingers? Can I delight in God when yet another burden is piled on my heavy heart? Habakkuk teaches me that true joy in "God my Savior" is independent of my current issues. I can praise God even when I stand before fruitless trees, failed crops, and empty stalls.
Father, it is not easy to thank You, let alone praise You, when the trees of my life are fruitless, when the crops of my life have failed, and when the stalls of my life are empty. But help me come to Habakkuk's conclusion. Help me experience true joy that comes from You, despite my circumstances. In Jesus' name. Amen.