The other day I was reading the book of Habakkuk. The last chapter is a prayer song sung by the prophet. The ‘Shiginoth'(v.1) refers to a song with turbulent lyrics. Surely the lyrics are turbulent especially the last few verses of the 3rd chapter:
“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.”
These verses really trouble me. Was that a good time to sing, rejoice and be joyful? How can one sing and rejoice when there’s nothing favourable and good? I also found similar situations in the Bible. The only time we read that Jesus sang was few hours before his arrest (Matt26:30). And there’s also Paul and Silas singing in a Roman jail (Acts16:25). How could these people react to a grave situation by singing?
If I were to be in such a situation, I will probably react with anger, self-pity and will be murmuring against God. Sometimes, maybe I will accept it with a sigh but the relationship with God will remain unsteady for sometime. But to sing and rejoice seems to be impractical.
But Habakkuk seems to have a completely different perspective about it. Even when the ‘Physical reality’ around him was breaking down, he was finely tuned to the ‘Spiritual reality’. He was able to look beyond the shattered reality to a God who is still in control. Hence, he is able to sing, rejoice and be joyful.
To find meaning in such a situation is to see it from a higher perspective. But such a perspective seems elusive in the midst of a storm. It’s a choice, but it’s still difficult to sing and rejoice.
I’m just praying for the grace to have more faith in God and to sing and rejoice in the midst of a storm.