Habakkuk 3 concludes with maybe the strongest confession of faith found anywhere in Scripture. After wrestling with God over the questions of injustice in the world and after listening to God tell him to wait for devine deliverance, the prophet declares his great trust in his Lord.
Habakkuk faces the frightening fact that his nation is about to be invaded by a ruthless and merciless enemy. The capital city of Jerusalem and the holy temple are going to be destroyed. The land will be ruined. May of the Israelites will be killed. The rest will be forced away from their homes in exile. Habakkuk faces the very real prospect of starvation as he looks ahead to a time without figs or grapes or olives; no sheep or cattle or goats; nothing being produced in the fields.
And he proclaims,
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
I don’t think we can quite comprehend what it means to “live by faith” (2:4) until we grasp what it means to know God. Knowing God and remembering his mighty deeds of the past and experiencing his grace and love causes us to rejoice no matter what happens. By the end of Habakkuk, the prophet has decided his God is so great, so powerful, so mighty, and so loving that nothing can occur which would decrease his joy of knowing him. Even in the stark absense of the most basic proof of God’s presence and blessings—food on the table, food to get through the day—Habakkuk declares his joy and his faith in his Savior.
God will not always change our circumstances. But he does always give us the strength and the provision to get through those circumstances. When the desert seems driest and the mountains too steep to climb, God sees us through.
“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 3:19
Jason and Lance and I are leaving at 4:30 this afternoon for our annual elders and ministers leadership retreat. We’ll be in Glenrose together until Saturday afternoon worshiping God, praying for every family at Legacy, and considering the mission of God’s Church in our world. The plans are to discuss the differences between being managers and leaders, to evaluate ourselves in our roles as leaders in the Kingdom, and to set goals for the Legacy congregation against the backdrop of Ephesians 3, that our God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
When we did this in November ’06 (we’re a little late with this one), we spent most of our time going over the budget. I remember Friday night was great as we worshiped and prayed together and testified as to God’s working in our lives. But all day Saturday was spent going over numbers and programs and decimal points and equations. The focus this time is all on our walks with God, God’s mission for the Legacy church family, and our roles in being co-workers with God to accomplish that mission. I’m anticipating great things. I’m expecting our God to move in bold and obvious ways with us this weekend. And I’m praying we’ll look back on this weekend in the years to come as a watershed event in the history of God and his people at Legacy and in North Tarrant County.
And tomorrow night I’ll be performing my first ever wedding ceremony. Jim McKillip and Elvera Long, two dear members of the Legacy family who have 120 years of marriage experience between them, are tying the knot after a courtship that began late last summer. When they asked me about six weeks ago if I would marry them, I humbly accepted and asked them if they’d be stopping by in the meantime for counseling. And they both said they’d be more than happy to come by the office and counsel me on anything I need.
They’re a delightful couple. I’ve known Jim for more than a dozen years as the grandfather of one of our dearest friends in Carrollton. And you only have to know Elvera for a couple of minutes to fall in love with her. It’s going to be a quick wedding followed by barbecue and peach cobbler. And I’m honored to be playing a part.