"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places." - Habakkuk 3:17-19a
Which made me think of these words from Job: "Though he [God] slay me, I will hope in him" (Job 13:15a).
Which was echoed in this excerpt from Carolyn Custis James's book, When Life and Beliefs Collide:
"God's plan isn't defined by happy endings; neither is it about getting answers to all of our questions...God's plan for Job, as for all of us, went much deeper than material blessings or divine explanations. In the furnace of affliction, God was revealing himself to his child. Through the eyes of suffering, Job saw more of God than he would ever see through the eyes of prosperity...By the end of his life, Job's theology had taken a quantum leap. God had gotten bigger, and his relationship with God had been reinforced with deeper truth.
"It is a startling truth that God doesn't work around our troubles; he works through them, orchestrating events to ensure that the outcome will benefit the souls of his children and draw us closer to himself...Sometimes we see God more clearly in the dark, when he has our undistracted attention and we struggle to know if the hand that rules the night is as good and powerful as the hand that rules the day."
I love Carolyn's synopsis of the book of Job: "If we read carefully, the central issue in the story is not what Satan is doing but what God is doing...The book of Job drives home the point that God is the central figure behind even the tragic events in our lives. He is the one who is in charge and who holds us in his hands."
I don't know about you, but I often pursue God because I want the blessings I hope He will give me - peace, direction, purpose, meaning, hope, health, security, salvation for my children, etc. I frequently find that I desire these good things rather than/more than I desire to know and love God himself better.
But God doesn't promise that I will have all those things, all the time. And Scripture doesn't tell me that God will answer my questions of "Why?" or "How long?"
No, God promises me something infinitely better.
God, grow me until, regardless of my circumstances, I can truthfully proclaim with Habakkuk: I will rejoice in the LORD!