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.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV, 1978)
Many of the young men and women who come to us at Adult & Teen Challenge have no foundation upon which to build their faith. They have experienced nothing but hopelessness and desperation from as far back as they can remember. To observe their struggle to reach beyond their shame and begin to dream for the first time in their lives is a humbling experience to say the least. Yes, it happens more than you might think!
“Rock bottom,” many will say, “that’s what it takes for someone to finally turn to God. They have to hit their rock bottom of loss and desperation.” In so many cases, that analysis is spot on. But what if it happened to us? What if we, who know the blessings and possibilities of what it means to follow God, suddenly found ourselves in the unfamiliar position of being desperate? There are those who believe that such a situation is impossible for the Christian and that it is contrary to the will of God for anyone who would follow Him.
The Old Testament traces the journey of Israel, God’s chosen people, who repeatedly found themselves in dire straits primarily due to their own willful disobedience. They would eventually be convicted of their condition, repent, and return to God to find His welcoming grace available once again. The Apostle Paul, in faithfully preaching the Gospel, found that when he was most physically weak, he was most spiritually strong. It seems obvious that, in moments of desperation and pain, God still has something special He wants to accomplish.
In the words of his prayer, the prophet, Habakkuk, gives the ultimate response of faith when life does not hand us what we anticipate or even what we think we might deserve. Faith that is real reminds us that God’s love is not measured by what He has given or perhaps by what He has taken away, but who He has made us to be as His children. There are days when that must be enough.