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 saw the sin of his day, its impact on the people of Judah and the collective corrosion of the nation. Seeking to frame what he saw with a lens of faith, he waited on God, calling out for divine help. But Habakkuk struggled when God told him his plan to punish evilness with more evilness. Would God actually use the wicked nation of Babylon to punish the (relatively less wicked) nation of Judah (Hab 1:6)?
Habakkuk waited for God to answer his questions (1:2-32:1). He listened as God explained that the righteous would live by faith (2:4) and marveled as God promised that, in time, the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (2:3, 14).
As Habakkuk reflected on all that was happening in Judah and the devastation to come, he turned to God in prayer. He poured out his praise, his questions his longing and confusion. He recalled Israel’s past, the era when God’s glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth (3:3). He reveled in the memory of how God had chastened Israel’s enemies and delivered Israel from those who sought to devour them (3:13-15).
Habakkuk acted in faith during this dark and difficult time. He thought about the future and imagined fig trees no longer budding, vines without grapes, olive crops failing, fields with no food, pens with no sheep and stalls with no cattle (3:17Jn 14:6).
On earth, Jesus was a real person, experiencing life as we all do, yet without sin. In his humanity, like the prophet Habakkuk, he experienced a troubled heart. He knew he could ask to be saved from that dark hour to come. But he also knew that the brutal path of crucifixion was the reason he had come to the world (Jn 12:27). So in this intense house he prayed, Father, glorify your name!” (Jn 12:28). In that moment Jesus, the Son of God, lived by faith and perfectly modeled for us complete reliance on God.
How do you focus on and praise God in times of disappointment or difficulty?