I know the title of this post is a bit stark, but those were the words that came to mind as I reflected on this passage:

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,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
      I will exult in the God of my salvation.
Hab 3:17-18 NRSV

I’m taken by the first word of each pair of lines: though, though, though, yet. It is this “though/yet” of joy that I still find difficult to enter into.

“Though” speaks to circumstances and situations that are unfavorable, unpleasant, unwelcome. Everything following “though” is something I did not want to have happen.

“Yet” speaks to a source of joy that is more deeply rooted than my transitory circumstances. The words of Habakkuk invite me to choose joy even when the outcome of the work of my hands is disappointing.

All of the verse 17 metaphors are work-related. And these lines reflect an outcome that seems far less fruitful than I might have hoped.

My circumstances are never the last word of my life or my joy. Ever. Period.

"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation."

REFLECTION

  • In what ways have things turned out for you less blessed than you would have hoped?
  • How has this made you feel about your work?
  • How has this made you feel about God’s favor (or apparent lack thereof)?
  • If you were to write your own version of these lines, what failures, losses or shortfalls might you mention beginning with the word “though”?
  • How would you then voice your “yet” of joy, of trust, of peace, of confidence?

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