No Money in the Bank and No Food in the Fridge...

Bible Reading: Habakkuk 1; 2; 3 - Listen

Years ago, after my husband had been terminated from his job, I was struggling with God's seeming lack of interest over the injustice we had suffered. During a visit to Tennessee to see my brother, I read this passage one morning and echoed Habakkuk's concern. "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? ...Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? ...There is strife, and conflict abounds.... The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted" (1:2-4).

God's answer piqued my interest: "Watch--and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told" (1:5). God was setting up a series of unbelievable events that would all be fulfilled in Habakkuk's lifetime. (He was setting up another series of unbelievable events that are still taking place in my own life and my husband's!) God's divine plan would unfold in his own perfect timing. When it was finally accomplished, it would be worth the wait. "For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come" (2:3). Though evil and injustice seem to prevail at times, they are never beyond God's control. We can quiet our anxious hearts, knowing that "the Lord is in his holy temple" (3:9).

God reinforced his words to me later that morning, when I went on a hike with my brother and daughter. We walked over rocky trails and steep terrain. As we stopped to watch some deer grazing on a nearby hill, I was reminded of the verse I had read a few hours earlier: "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights" (3:19). Walking in the company of two of my favorite people filled my heart with joy and encouraged me to press on. But even more so, my joy and confidence were bolstered by God's awesome creation surrounding me. Like Habakkuk, I stood in awe of the deeds of the Lord; I looked up and saw his glory cover the heavens and his praise fill the earth; I saw his splendor in the sunrise and his power unveiled in rays of light that shone from his hand (3:2-4).

As we walked along, my brother kept jokingly (or was he serious?!) pointing out "shortcuts" we could take -- cliffs that cut straight up and down the mountain. Sometimes we look for shortcuts in life that we think will shorten a difficult journey and end our pain ("God, please fix my problems NOW"), ignoring or not even realizing the possible danger. God reaches for our hand and knowingly leads us along the path he has prepared for us. Our pain is only temporal but "his ways are eternal" (3:6).

Toward the end of our hike, we could hear the sound of running water somewhere beneath our feet. My brother explained that when the water level was low, it ran underground through that section of the creek. We walked along the rocks until the water emerged aboveground and we could follow the stream to our destination. Sometimes we can't see God working in our lives either. But if we listen closely, we can hear the living water of his Spirit moving deep within. If we follow the sound of his murmur and the direction of his flow, we will see the joy of his presence spill out into our lives as he becomes in us "a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (Jn. 4:14).

"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, [...no money in the bank and no food in the fridge...], yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength" (3:17-19a).

 



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