Tucked away in the Old Testament is the little prophecy of Habakkuk. Yet it packs a punch of a message. The prophet, Habakkuk, was distressed over the corruption of his people, Israel. So, he complained to God about it. God responded by informing Habakkuk that judgment was coming to sinful Israel through the pagan Babylonians. This was not what Habakkuk expected. The prophet grumbled even more about the fact that the Babylonians were much more evil than the Israelites. The Babylonians needed judgment, too! The rest of this little book then unpacks Habakkuk’s struggle to come to terms with what God was doing.
The conclusion that Habakkuk finally came to was this: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield not 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.” Even though the circumstances were bad, even dire, yet the prophet chose to rejoice in the Lord.
One of the most significant faith experiences we can ever have is to come to the point of complete trust in God so that our happiness is not dependent upon good circumstances. The truth is that the Christian’s joy and spiritual security is independent of what is going on around us. Even though situations might be difficult and even evil, believers can still rejoice because we do not need everything to go our way in order to experience happiness.
Joy is neither cheap, nor easy. Total trust in God can only really come through a serious and open engagement, even argument, with God. The place of contentment comes from a consistent, persevering, and constant interaction with God in his Word and through prayer – just like Habakkuk.
Gracious God, bring me to the point of joy despite my circumstances so that my soul is not divided and unable to praise you. May I delight in Jesus every day through the fellowship of the Spirit. Amen.