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)
Hidden away in the minor prophets, right at the end of the Old Testament, is the book of the Prophet Habakkuk. Written around 600 BC, it is comes from a time when the Babylonians are growing in power and threatening the nations in the area. Including Israel.
There are three main parts to the book. Initially, Habakkuk cries out in doubt to God: “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” (1:2). God does answer, and the prophet is reminded that all things are in God’s hands. He tells Habakkuk: “”the righteous shall live by his faith” (2:4). And then Habakkuk places his trust in God, and rejoices in the passage at the top.
As we enter a period of ‘lockdown’ and all seems uncertain at best, we may well find ourself in verse 1:2 “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” Yet God does hear and, of course, our faith only really shows itself when we encounter suffering. This what the LORD taught Habakkuk. We shall live by faith.
When we grasp that nothing as big as Babylon, or as small as a virus, is outside God’s control we can begin to exercise faith. We may not understand why, but at least we can trust. It is from there that Habakkuk’s praise sprung. Even if everything fails, yet I shall praise God.