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.
Most mornings I listen to the news on my drive to work. Stories of scandal and betrayal, stories of violence, war and injustice, stories of power wielded in ways that make my stomach turn and my heart hurt seem to permeate the airways. Some weeks I get so discouraged and downtrodden by the time I reach my destination that it makes me want to cry out “why why why?!”.
It is there I find myself in a mindset of scarcity, lacking hope for humanity. Not a great place to be. It breeds in me a sense discontent and rage which leads me to thinking “what does it even matter?” or, worse yet, a distrust that the Lord is good. A dangerous spot.
But, here’s the deal, God can handle my doubt.
The prophet Habakkuk agonized similarly. Seeing the so much trouble and strife in the world he wondered where God was in all of it. He goes so far as to complain to God not once, but twice (Habakkuk 1:1-4 and again Habakkuk 1:12-17). The LORD is merciful and humbles himself to answer the distraught prophet. He assures Habakkuk that he indeed sees and he will bring judgement at the appointed time, His time. God reassures Habakkuk and also corrects his fear asking him to, in the midst of suffering, loss, despair, scarcity…have faith.
If you’re like me, feeding the mindset of scarcity or fear is easily done. But what if instead of doing that we prayed our fears aloud to a Mighty and Merciful God who is in control, Sovereign? A God who promises to provide rest and peace to the weary (Matthew 11: 28-30). I wonder if that would, like in the example of our wondering prophet Habakkuk, end up reminding us that though things may look grim now we have a true and lasting hope, that is, Christ. We can rejoice therefore and pray for the coming Kingdom, even as we suffer (for a little while 1 Peter 5:10).
They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.13 your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. – Psalm 145:11-13
written by Ellen Nimmo