My Baby Brudder, David Barnes (I mention him several time in my book, which you should buy and read), brought to my attention today this marvelous passage from the third chapter of Habakkuk (pronounced חֲבַקּ֖וּק for those of you who are curious):
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
(Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)
Here the prophet is proclaiming that even though absolutely nothing is going right, or may never go right, he will trust in God. No, not just trust in God, but rejoice in God. Sing giddy and stupid praises. Just because.
And nothing here in this proclamation is going right. Spring is not coming. There is no new life. No trees yield fruit. There is no increase. This is a barren world, a place of death, one that produces nothing new. The things we rejoice and celebrate over after a long, cold, dry, bitter, and barren winter, are not here. There is nothing at hand to celebrate.
And yet, the prophet says he will rejoice in “the God of my salvation.” Because even in a world bereft of material gain, for any sign that God is at work bringing new life, he knows — God has worked new life in him. And if nothing else blooms, blossoms, or comes to term, there is new life in him.
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.