Authored by Emily Hilburn, J117 Coordinator
Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17
I know this might not be the typical verse you would expect to see on a blog about caring for orphans around the world, but hang with me on this for a second. I’ve read this verse multiple times and my first response was to my current circumstances. I looked at the major thing in my life that I’m trusting God for that He has chosen to wait to provide and said, “Thank you Lord for the reminder that even though I need this, it’s a necessity, and it’s not here yet, I will praise you.” A very normal and good response. But then I got to thinking a little bit more. I began thinking about the recent trip I made to Haiti with one of our Journey117 teams. I remembered seeing where people live, what they eat (if they eat), and most of all, I remembered worshiping with them on Sunday. They get up early enough to be at church at 6:30am! They worship for 3 hours! Their hearts and faces shine with the love they have for their Savior and King! And I was brought to my knees with the meaning of this verse for the Haitians with whom we were blessed to worship.
It might read something more like this:
Though the mango tree should not blossom And there be no rice in my tent, Though the yield of the maize should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the goats should be cut off from the tribe And there be no pigs in the pen, Though my house is currently a USAID tarp and four small tree trunks, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
This church loves their Lord. They exalt Him in a beautiful way. They care for the orphans and vulnerable children in their community, and they were doing it way before we ever showed up on the scene. We were blessed to be invited to come alongside them that Sunday and worship with them, serve these children with them, and hear their stories.
Habakkuk looked around and saw not only physical devastation to his country, but spiritual devastation. He cried out to the Lord and asked why He was allowing this to happen. But he didn’t stop there. He chose to praise God in the midst of it all. He knew his help, his salvation, came from the Lord. These people know this too, and they know it to a deeper degree than I think I ever will. They care for the orphans and vulnerable children in their communities at a cost to themselves. They see God provide for these children through the means He has given them as church members. But then, He continues to provide through church partners who desire to serve as well.
We all serve a God who is the ultimate provider, and watching the way He has provided for these children who are so near and dear to His heart has been humbling. To even be a small part of that provision is awe-inspiring. Today I remember my Haitian brothers and sisters and their love for the Lord. I see their faces “rejoicing in the God of their salvation.”