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.
We have two ficus trees planted in big clay pots. I mean, really big. Twice per year they have to be transported from inside the house to the patio. So last fall when moving time rolled around I did my best impression of the Incredible Hulk and tried to pick them up. Yeah, I turned green, but the pots didn’t budge. This old man is like the old gray mare. He ain’t what he used to be.
A week later, our youngest son dropped by, and his mother asked him to move the pots. As he headed for the patio, I warned him they were extremely heavy and lifting them would require two people. He then swiped a clay pot off the ground with ease and carried it into the house. That’s right, the planted tree I couldn’t budge.
Life’s problems are like that. Often times the burdens are too heavy. Try though we may, we can’t lift them on our own. Our strength is insufficient, but we know we serve a Lord whose power is superior to any problem we face.
Indeed, God answers our prayers and lifts our burdens. But what happens when He tarries or our prayers seemingly go unanswered?
In our focus text, Habakkuk was preparing for the invasion of the Babylonians. COULD God deliver him? Absolutely. WOULD God deliver him? Hopefully.
Someone might say Habakkuk was suffering from a faith failure. He was a doubter, and the Lord doesn’t honor weak faith. No, Habakkuk was facing reality with refined faith, the kind of faith that has been through the fire of life. He vowed to trust God — no matter what.
Even if he and his people lost their livelihood and food supply, his joy in the Lord would not be shaken. “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Unconditional love enables us to trust God no matter what.
As a believer, you are familiar with God’s unconditional love for you. But have you ever considered that real faith is rooted in unconditional love for God?
On Thanksgiving day in 1990, my family had just sat down for our holiday meal when the phone rang. A member of my church called to tell me his son was killed in a motorcycle accident. A month later, a local realtor was driving near the church, lost control of her vehicle and hit a tree. She was killed instantly.
Stories like these are tragic and heartbreaking. And when we are affected personally, our faith is severely tested. We can feel as if God has abandoned us, and we blame the Lord for allowing such a horrible thing to happen.
My grandmother had the greatest faith I’ve ever witnessed. But when her son was accidentally shot and killed by his best friend, her faith faltered. For days she sat with his picture clutched against her chest, so overcome with grief she couldn’t eat or sleep. (You can learn more about her faith journey in my novels, Farewell PFC Polk and In the Valley of Hope.
Faith can bend, weaken, and seem almost nonexistent. But when it’s real and rooted in unconditional love for God, it bounces back and motivates us to trust God.
When our treasures are stored in heaven, we trust God no matter what.
Habakkuk’s joy wasn’t in himself, his possessions, or things. His joy was in God. He had stored his treasures in heaven.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Where is your treasure? Is it in the Lord or the people and things of this life? Do you love the Lord unconditionally and trust Him no matter what?
For more on this topic, check out this article: The Faith that Moves Mountains
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.