Joanne at An Open Book has selected an obscure verse in one of the less popular books of the Bible for today’s Monday Manna discussion. But even in the most unlikely places one can find treasure. Besides, how many really valuable things have you discovered just lying around in plain view? I digress sorry. Today’s scripture is from Habakkuk 3:17-18 and honestly I can’t recall ever reading this particular passage.
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.
Less Than Ideal Circumstances
As I read this verse it immediately reminded me of another passage of scripture I had read recently in chapter 3 of Lamentations, which reads, “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease”. Just as when I read that passage during my daily reading, I was drawn to the stark contrast of the writer’s environmental condition to his internal condition. Neither writer was suffering from denial or delusion. Each presented a clear description of just how dismal their current situation was in fact. A situation that was:
- without growth
- void of productivity
- vastly different from times past
- appeared to have no end in sight
An Atypical Response
Yet, their response in the situation was not the most logical one from a natural perspective. Amidst death, barrenness, destruction, lack and great loss, Jeremiah stated he still had hope and Habakkuk said he was still choosing to have joy. Hope and joy are not the by-products of loss are they? Having lost a few things in my life, I certainly don’t think so. Although, I’ve never suffered loss to the magnitude as these two but loss is loss. And, I certainly know what it feels like to be in a place of no outward sign of growth or productivity without the benefit of knowing when the situation would change.
Did these two possess some special ability beyond the reach of us “average” Christians? I think not but rather they chose to use what many of us (or I’ll just say what I) often neglect when facing dire circumstances. It all boiled down to the power of one choice-the choice of where to apply their focus. Though acknowledging the reality of their situation, they chose instead to focus on God – his character and their past experience Him.
Are you looking at some spots of death, lack, or non-productivity in your life? If so, I offer you the same challenge I’m giving myself. Dare to change your focus. Even though facing situations beyond our control, there still remains one controllable choice.
What does Habakkuk 3:17-18 speak to you?