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18th April: Though... yet...

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

It is very common among Christians today, with the popularity of the prosperity doctrine, to have our faith so closely tied to our material well-being that we become unable to discern joy and peace in the Lord unless we experience the kind of security the world provides. In a relatively affluent profession like medicine the danger of this is increased.

In his short book, Habakkuk recorded how he learnt that the almighty God is still sovereign and in control over the affairs of this world. Though Israel would be taken into captivity by the Babylonians, and though the latter seemed invincible, there would come a day of reckoning when the Babylonians would be punished. Habakkuk was also told to exercise patience as he waited for an answer from the Lord.

How is it possible for Habakkuk to be joyful in the Lord despite the news of such calamities? We too have similar experiences in our own times when every day we read of nothing but disasters and wars and destruction. Our economic forecasters have nothing but gloom for our future. We shall certainly be very anxious if our ultimate welfare is tied to our material well-being.

Habakkuk's secret was his faith in the Lord. 'The righteous will live by his faith' (Hab 2:4). It was this implicit trust in the Lord that brought peace and joy to Habakkuk despite all the calamities that were to come to the land of Judah. Habakkuk did not put his trust in the material well-being of the land. It did not matter what was going on in his time. He continued to rejoice in the Lord because of his faith in the sovereign God.

We need to re-discover this faith in our lives. It is easy to say with out lips that we trust God when we live in a land of plenty and in relative security. Many of us grew up with an emphasis on the external expression of our faith; but with our formal religion, we must not be immune to the great adventure that faith will lead us into. Despite our abundance and security, we need to see with our spiritual eyes beyond these horizons to the God who has provided us with all good things.

Whatever may happen to me, Lord, grant me grace to
rest my faith always in you and in you only.

Further reading: Mt 6:24-34.


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