puzzle

Even If… I Will

Posted by Kevin Respress on Sep 20th, 2011

“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. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17–19

This Scripture passage is definitely ‘on point’ for Christian business leaders!

Habakkuk, the prophet, displays a heart attitude at the conclusion of his short book that well expresses something we often need as we trust in God while leading businesses for Him. Together, let’s see if we can glean a helpful insight or two.

The fig tree, the olive crop, the fields, and the livestock yards all symbolize the potential or capacity to produce an economic livelihood, or “living,” through business. Habakkuk is saying that, even if all his effort in these areas is fruitless, he will still trust in God. Using today’s business vernacular, he’s saying that if his marketing plan fails, the product falls apart, customers defect in droves, and cash flow dries up… he will still trust in God.

You know, there’s something powerful about such a faith! It’s easy to praise God when our harvest (i.e., pace of business) is strong and our barns (i.e., cash reserves) are full. It’s not hard to thank Him when sales are trending up and our work – though challenging – is profitable. But what about when things go poorly and our results are disappointing? Do we still praise Him?

Consider the key to our passage that’s so easy to skip past. Habakkuk is speaking prospectively about the future. These droughts and failures haven’t yet happened. His statement of faith is ‘front-end loaded.’ Though Habakkuk doesn’t yet know the results, he’s praising God, the provider of all things, upfront and staying the course. He’s confident that, no matter how things work out, God will provide and deliver him.

Habakkuk’s example is a beautiful demonstration of making a firm, unconditional decision to trust God no matter what circumstances or outcomes lies ahead. In no way does this imply that he will give less than diligent effort and planning to the tasks along the way. It’s not a “sloppy agape” instance of resting on God’s grace while being personally apathetic or negligent. The writer is simply acknowledging that, even given his best efforts, things may still not ‘work out’ the way he’d choose. He lives in the real world, with a real faith, trusting God from the beginning. Can we learn anything from this Old Testament prophet? You decide!