John Newton, author of “Amazing Grace,” was an 18th-century pastor in London who was devoted to his wife, Mary. Their relationship was one of the most tender in Christian history, and they sometimes worried that their love for each other was “almost idolatrous.” One day she broke the news that a famous surgeon had diagnosed her with cancer. Newton’s anguish was terrible. He said he felt like a bull caught in a net. When she died fifteen months later, friends worried that he was inconsolable.
But John, strengthened in faith, preached her funeral, choosing as his text Habakkuk 3:17-18: Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labour of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food… yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
We can still focus on God in worship even when we don’t understand His decisions and directions in our lives. We’re caught in time and trapped in transience. God, who transcends all, is eternal and infinite. We don’t always understand, but He knows. He cares. He works things together for good. He is worthy to be praised, even in the night. We can yet rejoice in Him.
When you can’t trace God’s hand, you can trust God’s heart.