I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:18)
The prophet Habakkuk had a “yet” mind-set in the midst of unimaginable lack and scarcity; he refused to respond to his circumstances rather than his God.
The question before the house is this: Do you and I possess the same mind-set, regardless of the cost or circumstances we are facing? Take a moment to marinate in these words before you consider your answer.
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, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
To fully grasp the Habakkuk “yet” mind-set, we must understand what this kind of calamity would mean to the people of Habakkuk’s time. Crop failure would be devastating to the people of Judah. Add the death of the animals to that, and you have the makings of a financial disaster of catastrophic proportions, leading ultimately to death through starvation.
But even in those most dire circumstances we read, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” Those words might come easily to those of us today who live in the midst of so much abundance. But what about those times when the abundance is taken away? How will we respond when the business closes . . . when the biopsy comes back showing a malignancy . . . when the son or daughter leaves home, seeming to have utterly abandoned the Christian faith? How will we respond then? Without Habakkuk’s “yet” mind-set, we will never rise above the challenges of daily living and reach the place where we truly believe that Jesus plus nothing equals everything.
Make no mistake, our Master wants all His disciples to develop a “yet” mind-set on this side of the grave. How easy it is to praise our God when the sky is blue, the clouds are fleecy, and the sun is shining brightly! How much more difficult it is to rejoice when the storm winds are blowing and the waves of challenge are crashing over us. Praise flows from our lips when the pantry is full, but what about when the cupboard is bare? The promotion gives us reason to praise our God, but what about the pink slip? Habakkuk was able to say, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” Can you and I do the same?
Habakkuk’s prophecy offers us one of those Gospel keys that unlocks the door leading to the “yet” mind-set: “The righteous person will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). Faith, not sight, is the key to the “yet” mind-set. Faith fixes its focus on the Faithful One, not our ever-changing circumstances. Faith keeps us firmly standing on the Rock of our salvation, knowing that He who began the good work within us will complete it in His time and in His way. And often that way will include scarcity, lack, and emptiness. When we face those difficult—perhaps even devastating—circumstances, may we say with Habakkuk, “YET . . . !”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!