“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. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.” (NIV)
From a circumstantial standpoint, the prophet Habakkuk lived in a terrible time. The land was soon to be invaded and, because of the disobedience of the people to God over time, prosperity was no more. Even though the circumstances were bad, Habakkuk gives us the formula for not only surviving but also thriving in such a period.
The above passage shows us that Habakkuk did not allow circumstances to steal his joy. It is an example for us that our joy and happiness have to be based on more than just having good experiences.
Habakkuk was determined to rejoice in the Lord of his salvation and to be joyful in all of the spiritual blessings of the Lord. God had become his strength, and he realized everything was sourced in God. Because of that, God made his feet like those of a deer enabling him to walk on the hills or heights of the land overcoming fear and problems.
The Psalmist also expresses the same principle: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7, NIV)
Paul expresses the same in several passages:
- “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11, ESV)
- “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, ESV)
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7, NIV)
- “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV)
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NIV)
Our joy is sourced in the Holy Spirit, not in our circumstances. We may endure many difficult circumstances; people may disappoint us in many ways. However, if our joy is in the Lord, the “sting” of adversity can be greatly mitigated.
Today, ask yourself:
- Where are the roots of my hope?
- Are they in the ever-changing fragile circumstance of life, or are they ingrained in the Lord Jesus Christ?