‘Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation’ (Habakkuk 3:18, NRSV)
‘Yet’ is such an interesting word, by its use here we know that this verse is a continuation of something. The prophet has been talking about something and now has changed the mood of the words. Verse 17 tells of the troubles of the prophet has been facing and by reflection the troubles that Israel has been facing; the fig trees have not flowered, there have been no olives and the fields have no harvest to be reaped, the flock have disappeared. There is nothing to eat and no money to live on, that is a deep despair. Yet in the midst of all the trouble the prophet says, “I will rejoice in the Lord’.
Paul says it too in Philippians 4, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’. But that is very difficult. How does one rejoice in the midst of their troubles? Where is the joy when one’s heart is grieving? In those moments we are up held by the prayers of others and by the presence of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that is our joy. Knowing that God will not desert us and that our sisters and brothers in faith are with us and upholding us with prayer is our joy in times of trouble. The prophet found that turning his mind to God uplifted him during his time of trouble. We can find that also when we trust in God.
God our strength, help us to find the joy in times of trouble. Help us to bring joy to those in need. Our trust is in you who is our salvation. Amen.
– Pastor Roxie Sullivan, First Presbyterian Churches (Falls City, NE; Hiawatha, KS)