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. GOD, the Lord, is my strength (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
This passage, and the book of Habakkuk in general, has at times been both my most favorite and least favorite in the whole Bible. We can all relate to the cry of Habakkuk at the beginning of this book:
O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? (Habakkuk 1:2).
Unfortunately, the Lord’s answer to Habakkuk was not very satisfying. God only told Habakkuk things would be getting worse, not better. I was reminded of this passage last night when I learned that a dear friend was diagnosed with cancer. Why Lord?
Not many of us today have vineyards or stalls for our livestock. However, we all have the things of this world that are important to us and even dear to us. Our jobs, our homes, our health, our friends, and our families. If those were to be taken from us, then what?
Habakkuk realized that even if everything else was taken from him, the Lord God would remain. And that was enough. Enough not only to survive, but enough to rejoice. Rejoice in Him. Rejoice in our God who is also our Savior. Rejoice in His promises. Rejoice that we are merely pilgrims passing through this sinful land on our way to the homes that Jesus has prepared for us.
I have to admit that I do not feel like rejoicing much today. However, just like the Apostle Peter responded when times got tough and many other disciples were turning away,
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68).
I can look to the world and there are no answers. I can look to myself and there are no answers. I can look to Jesus and there are promises of eternal life. To whom else could we go? No one else. Because “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
So, in the end, I can only look to Jesus and that empty cross and, with Habakkuk, take joy in the God of my salvation.