“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; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”Habakkuk 3:17-19
I will be the first to admit that there are seasons when it’s exceptionally hard to rejoice. Sometimes difficulty seems to be around every corner. Sometimes we’re praying for our child’s health or for their wandering heart, yet see no change. Sometimes we’re praying for God to restore our marriage, but each day seems more impossible. And there are seasons when we pour ourselves into work, longing to see the fruit of our efforts, yet they always seem to fall flat.
But here’s the encouragement – Habakkuk doesn’t tell us that we’re to rejoice in these things. We aren’t expected to be happy about our struggles, painful waiting, or heartbreaking circumstances. Instead, Habakkuk reminds us that the true source of our rejoicing lies in greater trust in the Lord than our desired outcome.
Even in the waiting; even in the struggle; we can say, “Father, I don’t know the ending of this story and right now it’s exceptionally painful and confusing. I want to trust and I want to rest in you, but my heart is anxious, fearful, and weary. But you are Lord. You are the sovereign God who parted the red sea, rose Lazarus from the grave, moved the hearts and minds of wicked kings to serve your purposes, and gave your own life for me. Help me put my hope and trust in you more than what I can see. Give me a heart of faith that says, I will rejoice in the Lord, rest in his strength, and wait with anticipation for how he will provide.”
Like me, you may be struggling to see evidence of God’s tangible care and presence in your circumstances at the moment. So let this truth wash over you –
Your hope and security are not based on your temporal circumstances, but in the Lord himself.
Friend, if you are in this place along with me, may this be our prayer today. “Even though I cannot see the fruit I desire, the outcomes I’ve prayed for, or any evidence of my circumstances improving, help me to have strength and grace for today, trust in your goodness and sovereign purposes, and a fixed hope on who you are and have promised me.”
Lord I believe, but help my unbelief.
Home is around the corner,
You can now order Sarah’s new book – Tears and Tossings: Hope in the Waves of Life, releasing May 2nd.
To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can purchase “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here. Jeff and Sarah Walton’s marriage book, Together Through the Storms – Biblical Encouragements for Your Marriage When Life Hurts.