Whether I am Abounding within the Abundance of God’s Blessings, in the Absence of Blessings, there is still the Power of “YET!” Habakkuk 3:17-19

We live in a time when we have trouble seeing the forest through the trees. We live in a time where the best-selling Christian books seem to be the ones that tell you how to be optimistic, to prosper, succeed and live the good life. And you know what, it’s easy to put your faith in God when you are prospering, when life is going well and everything according to your plans. But when reality intrudes?

But the book of Habakkuk challenges us to put your faith in God even during the worst times when we can hardly even see the trees. When Habakkuk reached the end of his journey, he had been moved from a place of doubting God to a place of trusting God no matter what. And that “no matter what” was a serious issue for Habakkuk, far more serious than most of the issues we deal with each day.

Do you have hopes and dreams for the future, but no visible signs that they will ever come to fruition? YET do you ever feel like saying, “God, please just give me a sign, some type of hope that things are going to change, something to hold on to?” Then you know how Habakkuk felt. And Habakkuk would tell you, when you have nothing to hold on to for the future, hold on to God, and that will be enough. “YET, though I have no visible sign of hope for the future, nothing tangible that I can see or touch or grasp, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk says, “YET, Trust God no matter what.”

Habakkuk 3:17-19 New Revised Standard Version

Trust and Joy in the Midst of Trouble

17 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,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will exult in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    and makes me tread upon the heights.[a]

To the leader: with stringed[b] instruments.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Have you experienced times in your life where you can’t feel God’s presence?

When the worst happens in our lives, while we do our best to cling to our faith, when we try our hardest to remain hopeful and upbeat and optimistic, it is still incredible easy to roll our eyes, question God. Where is He when a loved one dies far too young? Where is God in catastrophe and threats of catastrophe? Where is He when both the forests and the trees, standing tall directly in front of us, are invisible, in the moments when the storms of life rage in every which direction?

Where is God in the midst of countless people suffering because of the storms which do not quit? Why can I not feel the trees? Why can I not feel the winds blowing through the forests on my face? Why can I not feel the heat of the sun? I know they are there – I have felt them many times before and they were good! I have always enjoyed their presence, I have always found great joy, much fun! I have always felt abundantly blessed God always gives me one more new day.

Except, in this moment, there are those individuals whose testimony and witness are “I am not sure whether or not I am abounding in the abundance of God’s blessings or abounding in the abundant absence of God’s blessings.”

We can select any corner of the globe, put our fingers on any point on any map anywhere in the world, and we are confronted by these same age-old times and age-old questions humans have struggled with for centuries, and questions we can easily ask today. It seems as if the world is forever on the brink of disaster, so we are left searching for God through all of it. YET! YET! YET! YET! ……!

Habakkuk wrote his prophecy at time when he and God’s people were asking the same questions. The Babylonians were preparing to invade Judah where the remnant of God’s people remained. This was a direct judgment from the Lord, for they had experienced a time of continuous and rapid moral and spiritually decline. Habakkuk complains against God, not understanding how he could use a downright wicked nation in Babylon to judge a less wicked one in Judah. But YET we know (praise Him) that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-13).

The Lord answers Habakkuk and reminds him that He is a God of justice and mercy and that the righteous have to live by faith (2:4) and YET trust Him.

Habakkuk’s ultimate summary is no matter what comes, he will choose joy and trust God. Though the world seems to crumble, YET he will rejoice in the Lord.

I can’t read this passage and not think about the classic hymn “It is Well With My Soul.” YET How many people know the sadly dramatic story behind it.

Horatio Spafford wrote the lyrics after a series of traumatic events: his two sons died in the Chicago fire of 1871 and the rest of his family perished two years later when their ship crossing the Atlantic sank. YET, even after all of those things, he was able to overcome, to turn his eyes, soul heavenward and write: 

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

What are you going through today? Does is seem like your world is falling apart?

To put it in contemporary terms: You get laid off after years of faithful service to the company. You lose your job and have no current source of income. You invest all your money in what looks like an iron-clad, “can’t miss” portfolio and the market goes bust. You put years into a relationship with another person and now that relationship falls apart. You are healthy, then suddenly – NOT!

What do you do when all that you are and have been counting on in the present suddenly comes crumbling down around you?

What do you do when you suffer bitter disappointments in life?

Habakkuk says, YET! Trust God no matter what.”

“YET, Though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, YET I will rejoice in the Lord. YET I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Habakkuk began his journey in the valley of doubt, and he ended his journey scaling the heights with God with feet like a deer. It is a beautiful journey and one that is open to everyone who will come honestly to God with their questions and seek him with all of their heart.

As God promises in Jeremiah 29:13: “[YET!] You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

And so, wherever you may be in your own personal journey from bouts with doubt to faith, let me encourage you, keep seeking God. Keep coming to him with your doubts and with your questions. Come to God through Jesus his Son, knowing [YET] that God loves you so much he sent his Son to die for your sins.

And I pray that God will also lead you to that place where you will learn to trust him no matter what, where you may run along the heights in God’s presence with feet like a deer. May God help us to [YET] learn the beautiful lessons that he has recorded for us in the book of His Prophet Habakkuk.

Know this: you don’t choose what you go through, but YET you can choose how you go through it and who you go through it with. Choose God! Choose joy, and know that God is YET good, just and merciful. No matter what you face, you can choose to shout, sing, “YET, I will rejoice in the Lord…the God of my salvation.”

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

1 When the storms of life are raging,
stand by me; (stand by me)
when the storms of life are raging,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When the world is tossing me
like a ship upon the sea,
thou who rulest wind and water,
stand by me. (stand by me)

2 In the midst of tribulation,
stand by me; (stand by me)
in the midst of tribulation,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When the hosts of hell assail,
and my strength begins to fail,
thou who never lost a battle,
stand by me. (stand by me)

3 In the midst of faults and failures,
stand by me; (stand by me)
in the midst of faults and failures,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When I’ve done the best I can,
and my friends misunderstand,
thou who knowest all about me,
stand by me. (stand by me)

4 In the midst of persecution,
stand by me; (stand by me)
in the midst of persecution,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When my foes in war array
undertake to stop my way,
thou who rescued Paul and Silas,
stand by me. (stand by me)

5 When I’m growing old and feeble,
stand by me; (stand by me)
when I’m growing old and feeble,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When my life becomes a burden,
and I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
O thou Lily of the Valley,
stand by me. (stand by me)  Charles Albert Tindley (1905)

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.


Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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