"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! (Habakkuk 3:17, 18 NLT) This week of Thanksgiving, the daily devotional I read led me to this passage at the end of Habakkuk. The prophet lays out some pretty miserable circumstances. With no fruit in the trees or on the vine, in a society that dried fruit for winter provision, the food supply for the winter was severely compromised. A failing crop of olive oil indicates a lack of light and heat for the days ahead. Flocks in the field would have provided the income the was desperately needed and the empty fields meant there would be no bread. The final blow is no goats or cattle in the barn, so there would be no milk for the family. There is no provision, no means for trade and no natural resources for any hope whatsoever.
Yet...yet...yet - Habakkuk is a man of faith and he knows in the midst of no natural provision, there is not only cause for a "yet", there is cause to rejoice. Rejoice in this verse translates to "jump for joy". He knows that God has provided before. He is trusting in the Living Lord, who has resources that we know nothing about. Habakkuk knows the Lord provided a way through the Red Sea, manna in the wilderness, a cloud by day, fire by night and water from a rock...to name just a few unseen or unknown resources to desperate people.
Faith in Him, regardless of the circumstances, gives us the needed glimpse of how big and capable God is. Our tendency is to look at our problems, our frustrations, our circumstances and measure them against what we can do. How will we fix a loss of income, or worse, a lost job? What are we going to do about our depleted savings account in the face of payments and bills? How did Habakkuk trust that God would deliver him?
"I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint." (Habakkuk 2:1 NLT)
Habakkuk paused in his misery, he took his complaints, fears and worries about his circumstances to Almighty God. He gained perspective. He was reminded in his quietness before the Lord that God has capacity, resources and abilities greater than anything we might imagine.
By reading his story, I'm reminded that in the midst of our trials, we need to cease measuring our abilities and resources against our trials. Instead, we should look to the One never leaves us or forsakes us, to the One who promises we are more than conquerors in Him. We can stand ready with our YET, regardless of our circumstances.