“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.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
I was a horse-crazy girl. My parents blessed me with horseback riding lessons and all the horse posters and tee shirts I could carry, but we were not horse-owning type people. There was the suburban neighborhood, of course, with its restrictions. And then there was the expense of a horse which was steep. I don’t think I ever asked for my own horse specifically, but I do recall checking the back porch a few Christmases in a row just in case a pony was tied out there. You know, just in case.
I read reams of dramatic girl-and-horse love stories. Generally, the plot revolved around a plucky but horseless girl discovering a run-down horse in desperate need of saving. I inhaled these books and sighed, dreaming of my own pony and the elderly, kindly Irish groom who would gently guide me in the ways of horse ownership. In the books, the groom always had a limp but was gentle and patient, even when the girl did stupid things to her new horse. How could I not be taken in by these stories? They were made for eleven-year-old girls with passionate spirits and empty stalls.
The stakes in life change, don’t they? From childhood fantasies to whatever faces you now, there are empty stalls. The fig trees do not bud. The fields are more than barren–roadside trash sits atop them. And fat sheep and sleek cattle? What a joke.
It is on my heart to say to someone–maybe it’s you–that even with the barreness and the bareness of your life and mine, we can rejoice. Even with the fields of life empty and the barns storing your dreams flung open to a cold, angry wind, He is there.
He is not aloof, caring little of what hurts. He longs to pick you up and show you that his love covers up the crops, the grapes, the cattle. When it is all gone–the job, the child, the dream, the money–all of it, He pulls you close. Rejoice in a love like that. Run to a love like that.