“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, NIV)
Habakkuk wondered why God was allowing such suffering for his people. Why would the Lord punish something evil (the Assyrians) with something just as evil (the Babylonians), while allowing His people (the Hebrews) to continue to suffer, be invaded, and be exiled?
God answered that all that was going on—world empires rising and falling—is in His hands. Though it seems that the wicked triumph, in the end God and His righteousness will win and He will keep His promises to His people.
Like Habakkuk, we wonder and question. We don’t understand what God is doing in the suffering on the other side of the planet or the suffering that invades our own hearts and lives. But the end has already been determined. God wins; good wins. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (2:14).
That’s what we hang our hats on. At the end of the day when nothing makes sense to our little minds, when all we do seems a tiny drop of good in an ocean of evil—we know that God will one day make everything right.
Habakkuk was privileged to receive a vision of God’s power over two world empires. Years would pass beyond his lifetime, but God’s promise would come true. Habakkuk trusted even when what was right in front of him made no sense—crops dead, flocks gone, economy collapsing. He could rejoice in God because ultimately that is where joy must remain focused. No matter how bad circumstances may be “the Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights” (3:19).
I heard an illustration once of a speaker mentioning a conversation with a friend who said she was doing okay “under the circumstances.” The speaker asked her the question, “What are you doing under your circumstances?”
Commit yourself in this new year 2015 to walk “above” your circumstances with joy in your heart enabled by the strength of your sovereign Lord and the promise of His ultimate victory. Put on joy and strength from the Lord and rise above whatever difficult circumstances have invaded your life. Then watch what God will do.
Prayer: Thank You for the blessing of a new year, Lord. In this year, no matter what happens, “yet I will rejoice” because I trust You to work Your will. Help me to be “above” my circumstances because I trust in You, the One who is above all.