Digging in Deeper: Habakkuk 3:17-18

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Have you experienced something disappointing yet today?  Not to start you off on a downer here, but the odds are pretty good that you will.  It may be a small disappointment–the parking space you were really hoping to be able to nab gets filled at the last minute.  It may be a big disappointment–someone close to you fails in some significant way.  Or, more likely, the disappointment will fall somewhere in between these two ends.  Whatever exactly is the extent of the disappointment, you are probably going to face one before the day is out.

The real question is not whether you will face disappointment in life (spoiler alert: You will); the real question is what you will do about those situations when they come.  In other words, will you let those disappointments drag you down?

Habakkuk and the people of Israel were in a season of disappointment.  Their entire nation had been captured.  They had been handed over by their God to a nation that by most accounts was far worse, morally speaking, than they were.  Israel had gotten badly off track, yes, but Babylon had never been on track.  How could God let this happen?

How God answered this question is more than I want to talk about here (I wrote about it in detail a few weeks ago in my note on the whole book), but where Habakkuk lands here is important.  After much wrestling with God, Habakkuk finally comes to a place of peace.  He arrives in a place in which his trust in the Lord is stronger than it was when he started.  He had learned to find his joy in the Lord no matter what the shape of his circumstances happened to be.

Look one more time at the things he describes in v. 17.  If these things all happened, they would basically be the total breakdown of everything he needed to survive.  No food, no money, no security, no shelter, no nothing.  And yet, his bold declaration is clear: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

He had come to trust that if he was in God’s hands, he was in good hands no matter what happened.  The same goes for us.  We even have assurance of this that Habakkuk could only dream about; we have Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection.

Disappointments are going to come.  Some of them will be major.  But if your trust is in the Lord, you can find joy in Him and His love for you regardless of the situation you are facing.  This doesn’t mean you won’t still experience the full range of emotions in the face of a bitter disappointment, but your foundation of wholeness and contentment will be solid and will provide you the platform from which you will experience these emotions.  You won’t be adrift in a wild sea, drowning in confusion and hurt.  You will be standing firm in the God who has you well in hand no matter what.  Rest easy and rejoice.

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