“‘Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fall 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.’” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
The book of Habakkuk opens with a complaint. Habakkuk is upset about all the terrible things that are going on in his country, and he doesn’t understand why God is letting this happen. Moreover, he can’t grasp God’s reasoning behind using an evil nation like Babylon to bring about His purposes. What in the world is He doing with all of this? Why doesn’t He stop the horror? And why is He using Babylon, a nation so adamantly against God, to punish His own people?
By the end of the book, however, Habakkuk had his answer. After hearing God reveal a bit more of His plan, he realized that our God truly is in complete control of the world. Though he still didn’t understand everything that was going on, he trusted his Creator. Though it was still hard to see Babylon triumph over his country, he had faith that they too would be judged for their iniquity. And he was satisfied in that knowledge. He no longer needed things to be perfect before he trusted God. In fact, he promised God that he would rejoice in Him no matter how horrible things became, because he knew that his King would still be in control, working everything out according to His amazing plan.
Though we’ve never asked Habakkuk’s exact questions, his struggle is certainly one that we can relate to. A quick glimpse at the world shows that it’s still evil. Every day, the righteous die while their oppressors continue to live and thrive. Across the world, things happen that we’re certain we would have stopped if we were God. At times, it’s hard to keep from doubting God’s plan. Is He really in control here? Does He truly see what’s going on?
But in the end, we can have the same confidence that inspired Habakkuk. It’s so hard to be satisfied when things are in a mess around us, but the truth is, our happiness doesn’t have to be dependent on our circumstances. We were created to know God, to serve Him, and to be satisfied in Him. It is only in Him that we can find true joy and contentment; He is the only One Who can satisfy us no matter where we are. Looking for happiness in the world will only lead us to disappointment, but we can always trust in God. He knows what He’s doing, no matter how things look from our point of view. He is our gracious Father, Who loved us enough to die for us. Because of that, we can rejoice in Him. No matter where we are or what’s going on, we can rejoice in the LORD and take joy in the God of our salvation. He is truly an awesome God!