Word for Wednesday…Though
“Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
Like many families, ours has a Thanksgiving tradition of providing an opportunity for each family member to share something they are thankful for. I think we began the practice as a way to help our children focus on the things they had, rather than the things they didn’t have, with the goal of tempering their expectations for Christmas morning. Really, it would probably be beneficial to do it every day in-between, because it seems to be a lesson that is easily forgotten. Truth be told, it’s not only children that struggle with gratitude. Adults also need to be reminded to “look at the donut instead of the hole.” That may be even more true this year, as 2020 has provided us with plenty of temptations that threaten to draw our attention away from God’s goodness. The prophet Habakkuk had at least as many reasons as we do to abandon an attitude of gratitude. Most Biblical scholars speculate that he lived in Jerusalem during the Babylonian rise to power. The Babylonians, of course, were not friendly toward the nation of Israel, eventually conquering them and forcing them into exile. Beyond the outside dangers facing his people, Habakkuk was also intimately aware of the dangers within, the corruption, idolatry and injustice and downright evil that was so rampant among his people. Notably, Habakkuk was even so bold as to question God why he had not yet acted to put a stop to it all. Perhaps to his surprise, God responds, telling Habakkuk it will get worse before it gets better, so he needs to live in hope, believing that God will eventually make things right again. This is what Habakkuk does. As we see in the passage quoted above, even in the midst of a terrible, hopeless situation, Habakkuk will continue to have hope. He will continue to rejoice in God and praise him. He will continue to be grateful, not in his present situation, but in the future he believes he is coming. I think if we look hard enough, we can find things to be thankful for even in our current circumstances. Even if we couldn’t, we could, like Habakkuk, be thankful for the future that God has promised.
Happy Thanksgiving Brick Church!