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 Saviour. – Habakkuk 3:17-18
This is the verse that pops up on my desktop wallpaper for the month of May – courtesy of incourage.me. The verses often speak directly to me at whatever I’m living in that month or that season of life. Often I don’t get it until the end of the 30 or 31 days. Often I don’t hear what God is whispering into my heart until it’s almost too late and almost time for the next verse. Often I barely keep up. These days. Not every day, not every season. Sometimes I run ahead of Him, sometimes we saunter through the days together, side by side. But when the lesson is a hard one, often I’m lagging behind, not wanting to keep up, not wanting to walk side by side. I want to keep to myself, alone, walking behind Him. I suppose that at least I’m still walking.
These verses in Habakkuk speak of rejoicing and being joyful in the Lord even when all seems empty. When the vision is unclear, when life is confusing, when it’s time to lay it all down on the altar again (just like Abraham with Isaac) and see if He brings a ram instead of your dreams and hopes. Sometimes the ram is sacrificed, and sometimes the dreams and hopes. Then it is so hard to keep rejoicing and being joyful in Him. I can’t see past the anger, self-pity and confusion.
Yet he lingers, always, never leaving me nor forsaking me, always lingering. He is ever-faithful. He can handle my emotions. He made me who I am, and who I will be. He will get me to the who I will be. I CAN trust.
This is what He brings me back to, time and again – to find my joy in Him alone, and to trust Him with everything. He never wants just a little of me, never wants me to follow Him just a little. It’s all or nothing. I get that – He made me from the same stuff – all or nothing. Which is probably why it’s hard to lay those dreams and hopes down again.
But when the dreams fade – some for a season, some for a lifetime – and all feels empty again… when the fig tree does not bud, when there are no grapes on the vine, when the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, when there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls… I still have Him. I can still find my joy in Him.
If only I choose to keep up, not lag behind, and saunter through each day with Him.
Vision is renewed – sometimes totally different, sometimes slightly adjusted – and I start to see Him everywhere. In the smiles of my children, in the tender gaze of my husband, in the sunlight on the water, in the flight of a bird, in the dancing of the trees, in the people at church, at school, at the store. He cannot be contained. Not even by my dreams and hopes and visions. He will do His will, and thank Him for it. I will find my joy in Him who is able.