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.Â Â Â Â Â Â Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)
My parents both grew up on a farm. They grew up on these farms during the depression. My mother used to tell me how she had dresses made out of feed sacks. My parents worked very hard and were good stewards of Godâ€™s blessings. My mother was only allowed an 8th grade education and my father was brought home after 10th grade. My brother and I both went to college. I often think that my parents thought this their greatest accomplishment.
I tell this story because I suspect there were many days, weeks, months, maybe even years when my parents could have pointed out to God that their crops were failing and their barn pretty empty. I canâ€™t say I ever saw my parents overtly rejoicing during these times but I can say that they were faithful in their worship of God. They worshiped Him with their prayers, their presence in worship, and their tithes. Even when Dad was laid off from his job and Mom took a job in a retail store and we had very little, I remember them putting something in the offering plate. I would call that rejoicing!
It is so easy to wallow in bad circumstances. The more I focus on difficult or unreasonable events the less I have eyes to see new opportunities for resolutions or the possible blessings that can be hidden.
It is also easy to pull the covers over my head and hide out from God and others that He sends to support and encourage me in times of famine in my life. When life is most difficult, I must move in closer to God and others. In my weakest moments, I need God and â€˜Aaron and Hurâ€™ to hold my arms up and battle turns to victory (Exodus 17:11-13).
It is God who provides a â€˜sure-footedâ€™ path out of the deep valley or conflict that I find myself in. It is God who provides wisdom and wise people who will tell me, not what I want to hear, but His truth.
It is vital that I take time daily to remember the goodness of God. Just as I remember the â€˜goodâ€™ of my earthly parents, so I remember how God has entered into my life and carried me through when I was too weak to walk. It is in that remembrance that words of rejoicing come from my heart and across my lips even though I may still be seeing failed crops and empty barns. I can rejoice because I am not alone but have the only One who can bring me through and bring me out into the sunshine, if you will, where joy and thanksgiving return to God for what He has done once again.