"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,
Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds' feet, And makes me walk on my high places," (Habakkuk 3:17--19).
The more extreme our circumstances, the more we need passages such as this. For one whose livelihood and sustenance depended upon the land, verse 17 describes the direst of situations. Crops and cattle were the mainstays, the non-negotiables, in much of Israel's life and culture. If the supply of either, or both, failed to produce, the already-strapped farmer would be intolerably impoverished.
A similar situation in America was the dust bowl days of The Great Depression era... not only was the economy horrific, then the weather seemed to side with the financial onslaught to further decimate the country. As in Habakkuk's day, small farms seemed hardest hit. Thousands throughout Oklahoma and surrounding states gave it up, left land worked for a lifetime, and went West in hopes of starting over in a better place.
During such times, perspective is utterly crucial. People can do without many things...but hope isn't one of them. AND, hope is only as valid as the object upon which it is placed. Habakkuk determined that his hope would be placed in the LORD God of heaven and earth. Note how he declares it: "I will exult..." and "I will rejoice..." These are expressions of the will, regardless of feelings. Emotions are not to be trusted in such times of adverse circumstances, for our hearts are fickle, to say the least (Jeremiah 17:9).
So... overwhelmed by situations, tempted to give in to the urge to fear, what are we to do? Like Habakkuk, we are to focus on the LORD God as our strength (v. 19). Only His invigorating power can encourage our hearts, when all else fails. May we prepare now for such times to come!