This passage from Habakkuk is both beautiful and astonishing. It’s astonishing because we see a life filled with disaster, a life we might think is bleak and hopeless—yet the passage positively shines with hope and strength.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
Read these verses again, slowly and maybe even aloud, and don’t miss some key words.
Even though. Even though the check book is depleted or the savings are gone or the job disappears. Even though the diagnosis is cancer. Even though I have wasted all those years. Even though I struggle with depression or live with chronic pain. Even though I am a single woman alone. Even though I’m being ridiculed for living as a follower of Jesus. Even though my best friend dies. Even though my husband leaves me. Even though I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Even though …
You can finish a few more of those sentences, I’m sure.
Even though all looks like disaster …
Yet. Yet I will rejoice that God rescues me. Salvation is a difficult word to make concrete in our world. When I learned that it meant rescue, then many Scriptures took on new meaning for me. Even though disaster falls in every area of my life, yet I will rejoice in the God who rescues me. I remember that He has in the past and know He will in the future. No matter what situation I’m in today or what battles are raging, I know He is my rescue. In that, I will find my peace and joy.
Sovereign. He is sovereign! He rules supreme, and as Sovereign, He holds my life in His hands. What better place to find refuge? My strength comes from His. My resources come from Him. He is my Shepherd, and He sees to it that I do not lack anything I need. The Lord of the universe has claimed me as His child!
He makes me… I have no stability, no joy, no strength, no security of my own making. All of my strength comes from Him. I depend totally on Him for courage and endurance. He is the One who makes me able to scramble up the mountainside, no matter how steep or high. He keeps me from slipping and places me on solid ground even when the path leads through the valley of disaster or I am under siege by the enemies of my soul. Even though my clay is fragile, He makes me strong and firm, courageous and steadfast.
In the middle of disaster, hope can yet trust the Sovereign Lord who rescues and gives strength.
As a writer, I wish I could write words this beautiful and powerful. As a child of God, I want my life to sing these lyrics.
Loved this, Elaine. “Even though. . .”
Thanks for visiting, Sharon. Looking forward to a guest post from you some day.
I was driving my son to drumline practice this week and on the radio they quoted C.S. Lewis. It was the one about being careful that the ins and outs of your individuality aren’t a mystery to God. I wondered exactly what that meant so when I got home I googled it. After reading several of the links offered I clicked on yours, I was so captivated by your blog I read down to this one speaking about praising God even in hard circumstances. Later that day I was complimenting my neighbor on one of her projects and she asked me if I knew that our air conditioning unit was leaning/tilted. I went outside and observed what appeared to be our concrete slab and A/C unit sinking into the ground. Instantly I thought “sinkhole” and panic started to set in…but then I remembered that verse about praising God anyway- so I did. I called my husband, our township office, and our insurance company. The whole time there was this battle going on within me to worry. No we do not have sinkhole insurance…and so many other reasons…but I kept talking to God through it and doing what His word says. Finally that night my husband got home. As he looked closer, he realized that the metal plate (not concrete after all) had shimmied off of steel rails that stabilize it. (A simple fix with a crowbar and a push.)
Lisa, Thank you so much for that story! I love hearing about how God is here, in our lives, caring for us.
And the fix didn’t even cost you a penny!