This post was originally shared back in 2008, and updated for today because it still rings true!
Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19 [The Amplified Bible]
I can’t say that I’ve ever been despondent over fruitless vines and empty fig tree branches, or that I’m particularly offended that I have no cattle in the stalls, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what it feels like to feel low.
I’m pretty well versed on that particular point, if I’m honest.
Do you know that valley feeling, too? I’m not talking about green meadows and gurgling brooks and me, twirling like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. More like a valley low – with a mountain in front of me that threatens certain catastrophe. Low-hanging clouds that loom over my head and darken my soul. The chill of doubt cast over any hope I can cling to.
The heavy times.
They’re a part of life, those ups and downs. But in famine and desolation? That’s a tough call. And honestly, before today, I never really read past the ‘rejoice in the tough times’ part in verse 18.
Because every Christian knows that part. It’s part of the walk we walk. It’s something we cling to when we can barely breathe, much less sing songs of joy and hope.
Rejoicing in the Lord is absolutely vital to surviving difficulties, it’s true. Job endured hell on earth, and when it was over, he was blessed because he continued to praise God. But I already know that part.
Sometimes, though, at the lowest, darkest point of the valley of the shadows, I really need the next passage. The part that reminds me that He is sovereign. His strength supports me. He will propel my feet, even on the loneliest pathways.
And He alone will enable me to keep going until I get to the high places.
Maybe not today. Today, we might still be standing in the valley, casting a doubtful eye at the mountain in the way. We might be frustrated and overwhelmed by the call to sing praises when we feel like giving up.
But the promise of a mountaintop just ahead is worth the journey.