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The Failing Fig Tree

by Kathy Van Etten

Do you ever get discouraged to the point you feel like nothing in your life is going right? 

I do. 

It’s so easy to be joyous and encouraged (and to encourage others) when everything seems to be going right. But on the disastrous days, I want to crawl into a hole and be miserable by myself.

The book of Habakkuk tells of someone who understands disastrous days. 

Habakkuk was a prophet of God who questioned God’s lack of punishment of the people of Judah who abandoned the Lord’s covenant with them. When God answered Habakkuk’s question with information about how the Babylonians would successfully attack Judah and Israel and take them into captivity in Babylonia, Habakkuk further questioned God about this “cruel and unusual punishment,” as they were known for their cruelty and inhumane treatment of their captives.

Knowing God’s plan for the bleak future for all of Judah and Israel, (the righteous and the unrighteous) didn’t settle well with Habakkuk. His feelings came through at the close of his writings:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines, 
Though the yield of the olive should fail 
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls . . .”

Are you feeling his discouragement and even misery? Me, too. This is someone who feels like me. And then, Habakkuk finishes his thought,

“Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17-18

These verses caught me by surprise but somehow made sense to me. It’s as if Habakkuk completely trusted God’s plan even when everything around him looked grim. Even on our darkest days, we can praise the Lord because of the salvation he grants us through his son, Jesus. God didn’t promise us an easy life, but He promises to be with us.

Jesus said it this way, ” These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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