Habakkuk 3:16–19 ‘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 sheepfold and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.’ (vv17–18)

Following a global pandemic, fuel shortages and pressure on the ‘just in time’ supply system, we are more conscious of the possibility of a calamity, a great misfortune, a cause of misery. Many live in calamity daily, from refugees to addicts. God’s promise is that even in the face of calamity we can retain confidence in His purpose. One of the most challenging truths from Scripture is that we are never immune from misfortune.

Domesticated Christianity offers a settler package of comfort, stability and safety. Yet, Christianity is intended as a pioneering faith, exploring how the witness of God might crack the complacency of Satan. One reason why, at the moment of Jesus’ death, ‘the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open’ (Matt. 27:51–52a). Geologists say Jesus was most likely crucified on Friday 3 April AD 33, when examining seismic activity from the time.

The International Geology Review speaks of Dead Sea earthquake activity 13 miles from Jerusalem. Pioneers are aware that they never know what lies beyond the horizon, but intend to find out. Christians can only pioneer when, like the prophet Habakkuk, they keep their eyes focused on God’s promise rather than an apparent calamity. Standing on God’s promise is the essence of practical faith in God.

Scripture to consider: Deut. 31:6–8; Psa. 65:1–8; 2 Cor. 4:7–18; Gal. 6:1–10.

An action to take: We are to learn to live as pioneers seeking to secure new ground for God’s kingdom on earth. What adjustments can you make to achieve this?
A prayer to make: ‘Lord, help me to stand with confidence on Your promise. Amen.’

Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.