Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. (For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)
Dear God, first, a side note, I was listening to an interview yesterday with a man who just wrote a book on prayer. One of the comments that was thrown out mentioned those in Evangelical churches that reject the idea of written prayers because they are not spontaneous and heartfelt. But the paradox is that they Evangelicals will sing prayerful worship songs to you when they are pretty much prayers written by someone else. The only difference is the rhymes and the melody. His point was not that we should abandon spontaneous prayer, but that we should not be so quickly dismissive of pre-written prayers. This prayer set to music by Habakkuk is a good example of a pre-written prayer set to music, but it’s a prayer nonetheless—just like the book of Psalms.
Back to this passage, what strikes me about this entire chapter is that it paints a dangerous, vengeful, destructive picture of you. The entire thing is about the destruction you can bring around you, but the point seems to be in the last verse. Even in the midst of calamity around me, you are my strength, making me as sure footed as a deer treading in difficult places.
Father, please give me your strength as I go through this day. I have several friends right now who are going through calamity. Frankly, it’s so many I’m losing track. For those who have broken joints and bones, who have lost loved ones, who are in hospice, or are simply walking a difficult road, I pray that you would be their strength. I ask that you help them to feel as sure footed as a deer walking on difficult ground. Help me to know how you need me to be there for each one.
In Jesus’s name I pray,