I don't really know the Old Testament prophets all that well. The "minor" prophets? They are essentially strangers to me. Thanks to a few years of Bible Drill in my childhood, I can turn to any given book of the Bible in seconds flat, but ask me who those prophets were and when they spoke to God's people, and you'll be met with a blank stare punctuated by blinking eyes.
One night a few weeks ago, my Dad called to tell me that he felt led to pray a passage over Kyle and I. A passage from Habakkuk. Okay.
As he read these words in prayer over us, my entire self contracted. Involuntary tears spilled down burning cheeks:
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 Savior.
(Hab. 3:17-18 NIV)
I've always read those Old Testament prophets with a disconnected distance. Old Covenant and all that. But this passage . . . how can I say it without sounding trite? It's as if God looked through the spans of time and knew that in this moment that I would be desperate for this truth.
That I would need to hear from Him, "I see and I know."
My earthly father doesn't know that the word God has spoken over me for 2010 is rejoice, but my Heavenly Father knows that even though it's only mid-February, I've grown weary. My jaw literally aches from the unconscious clenching - my body's primal response to fear and worry and doubt.
Terrible, Blessed be He. All of the praying it and thinking it and saying it doesn't do a thing to change our circumstance, and I feel forgotten.
Raw and tender and singed and smoking . . . this place in my soul where God branded me with this passage. Yet I will rejoice. I do because I don't what else to do.
It's a fine line to walk here between transparency and discretion. I suppose more than anything I need to say that I know well what it is to look to branches with no buds, vines with no fruit, failed and yield-less crops, silent and barren pens.
And though it feels absurd, yet I will rejoice, I will chase after joy in God my Savior, for apart from Him, I have no good thing.
photo by psyberartist