“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
I am up early. Sitting outside. Listening to the crazy crows arguing with each other. Big. Black. Angry fighting Crows. The squirrels are mouthing off. There is a war of nature right above me as I write. Each creature fighting for its own right to be heard.
I grimace. Seems like a harbinger. I am uneasy in my mind. In my heart. And I read today’s Bible verse (above) in my Bible app and I smirk. Yea right Lord. That was then, but what about now?
I ponder, when all is wrong. And it feels like I live in a country that has forgotten herself. And become a prostitute to the world. To evil. To truth.
As I ruminate in this I find my thoughts turning to another scripture in Habakkuk I read long ago….
“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.” Habakkuk 1:2-3
Times were bleak in Judah when Habakkuk was writing this. He was in a position much like today. Evil in his nation was unbound and thriving. Right was wrong. Bad was good. Truth according to God’s word was not only diminished but completely excoriated. And each person did what was right in their own eyes, which meant there was no truth standard. In the book of Isaiah 5 God is pretty clear what He thinks about this.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” Isaiah 5:20-21
And yet Habakkuk found the ability to rejoice in the LORD.
Because God is our refuge in good times and bad. It is in the times of difficulty that we find our center in Jesus as we come to the conclusion we have no power to make change. And we must rely on a higher authority to do so.
It is easy to forget this. It is most often that even the most stalwart of believers in Jesus Christ will become dispirited and struggle. It is the nature of man. But. It is not God’s nature.
And it is there where we start…or shall I say restart. I have been far away from my Lord in the past few months. I confess – really it’s been years. Not that my belief has diminished. But let’s be honest. In the midst of this worldwide tribulations – We have all wondered, God where are you?
And so recently I have confessed my dry spirit to Him and decided to take each day and read one chapter from Isaiah, Psalms and Proverbs. I chose these randomly. But how odd that all three seem to align and resonate off of each other. And I am reminded. God is still watching. On His throne. He sees the Nations roiling…and like in the day of Habakkuk He has a plan.
In Psalm 5:3 God calls us to lay our requests before Him each morning…. and then to wait. Wait in expectation. Remembering that He is not a God whom will dwell with the wicked.
We are called to righteousness. Not through our deeds. But through our faith. And repentance. And drawing near to our God. This is what we must pray for in our lives and the life of our Nation and indeed the world. This is what we must wait for. God still holds all the hearts and lives of mankind. And we are called to take refuge not in our own abilities or fortresses or even our nations or governments… but in GOD alone.
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Psalms 5:11-12
The fighting crows have settled down. The squirrels chased them off and there is now quiet as I sit here finishing this writing. Now comes the pileated woodpecker. Tap tap tapping. The bird relentlessly seeks his nourishment in what seems like a dead tree. He stops his tapping. Turns his head. And listens. He is waiting to hear. And then he hears it. Tap tap tap… He doesn’t give up until he finds not just what he wants. But what he needs. Nourishment.
I think again. This is what I must do. I must seek seek seek God. I must turn my head and listen to His response. I must not give up. And I will find in Him nourishment for my mind and heart. And all the angry crows of the world will not defeat me.
And I will rejoice in the truth -TRUTH of that knowledge.
Through the prophet Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles, God sweetly reprimands the Israelites -.You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:14-14
Yes indeed…tap tap tap tap tap….