Habakkuk 3:17-19 17 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, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
Yesterday we wrote about the problem of prayer being ‘good ending’ driven rather than being about relationship. This can result in a view that prayer only works if we get answers pleasing to us. We might reject such a blunt assessment but we need to consider what reality is reflected in our resulting attitudes and behaviors. If what we perceive to be good things don’t happen, do we find ourselves praying less and fighting disappointment and discouragement? Worse, do we find ourselves unintentionally rejecting God? “I prayed – He didn’t answer (the way I wanted or needed Him to) – Prayer doesn’t work – God isn’t faithful.”
Consider today’s verses in a proper framework. Farmers do what they do in order to harvest. The good endings are figs, grapes and olives, crops in the fields, sheep and cattle. They would be praying AND working for these results. In an agrarian society everyone is dependent upon these ‘good endings’ happening. When they don’t, it can mean a famine. (Imagine being unable to get food with all the grocery stores closed and empty for months on end!) It is in this framework that Habakkuk describes all the farming results as being negative. There are no crops, no animals and no food, but because of who God is, those are just details.
Habakkuk describes relationship triumphing over results! “…yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” These aren’t just words – they are reality! Our faith isn’t predicated on getting the answers we would like. Through our faith in Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, God will enable our relationship with Him to reflect this reality too!