"Though the fig tree should not blossomAnd there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.." ~Habakkuk 3:17-19
God's faithfulness is not dependent on our outward circumstances. For so many years I have been disappointed with God when he didn't "answer my prayers" or "provide like I asked him to." Too many times I have doubted his listening ear or ability to provide needs when I didn't see fruit in my life. I have tied God's goodness with my earthly satisfaction. He is not phazed by life's circumstances. He is never taken off guard and he is never worried about what's going to happen to us. His sovereignty and goodness far exceeds our earthly comprehension. But I believe God desires us to have new eyes and hinds' feet. He desires for us to walk with him in freedom and joy, even if the world is falling apart around us.
Habbakuk knew this firsthand. What he describes in verse 17 as the fig trees not blossoming and fruit not being on the vines is a worst case scenario. It would be as if he had no food, no provision, no safety and no hope. It would be like going to the grocery store and it being completely empty because no crops produced food and all of the livestock vanished. I can only imagine the panic that would produce in our hearts. But after describing this devastating circumstance he goes further to how he would respond:
"yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation."
Habbakuk's praise was not contingent on circumstances, no matter how dismal they appear to be. Rather, he rested his faith in God's character and not the state of the world around him. He responded with triumph, gladness and fear. Matthew Henry describes this as a "holy fear" and "holy joy." Joy isn't a byproduct of an easy life, it is a response to God's never-changing character when our circumstances don't change.
When we feel life looks like verse 17, dismal, disappointing, hopeless and burdened, our response should be expectancy. God is still faithful when it seems nothing is going right. God is still loving when our heart is broken. God is still providing when our prayers are still unanswered. Why? Because He is Yahweh. He is the God who gives us breath. He is Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides our needs. He is Jehovah-Shammah, the God who gives us peace. He is the Great I AM, the God who is with us at this very moment, wherever you are. He is El Shaddai, the powerful and mighty God. His names reflect who He is, not our circumstances.
We can be expectant and hopeful in the names of God, because He is faithful to bring us to the victory we see in verse 19. The promise we are given are hinds feet that are swift, firm and steady. God always gives us the ability, by His strength, to live victoriously. That is the glory of the Gospel. That is the power of Jesus' love for us.
Yesterday, Bree Loverly lost her son to Batten Disease. As I read her blog post, the Lord brought this Scripture to mind. Her family has been in verse 17 for years as her son has battled this disease. Yet they rejoice because their hope is found in God's strength and His faithfulness. Her faith is incredible and it is a picture of God's provision in the hardest moments. Read their story here and join me in praying for them during this time.
I don't know where you are on your journey with Christ, but I pray that today you would rejoice, no matter what your life may look like. Whether you are in a season of waiting, or are in much need, or have experienced loss, or everything seems to be going well, may we praise God for his goodness at all times. Every day will change for us, but God never will.
Praying for hinds' feet for you and for me.