Though the fig tree does not bud

On my last night in Iraq, I went for a walk with an Iraqi Christian. It was a wonderful warm evening, the stars were shining and there was a bright full moon. I asked my friend “How can you keep going when everything seems so dreadful?” Without hesitation, he replied with some words from the prophet Habakkuk (3:17-18) — Canon Andrew White

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 Saviour.

— Habakkuk 3:17-18

Canon Andrew White (aka Vicar of Baghdad) was in Iraq as Director of the IRC at Coventry Cathedral, established following the German Bombing of Coventry which destroyed the mediaeval cathedral 70 years ago today.

He was in Iraq during the period of sanctions, The Twin Towers had been demolished and war with Iraq was inevitable.

It was his last night in Baghdad on the eve of the war. He went for an evening walk with an Iraqi Chistian. It was a lovely warm evening the stars were shining.

Although the future seemed bleak, the Iraqis looked forward to better times ahead.

Canon Andrew White flew back to England the next day fearing the future, but hoping that a horrible ending would be better than unending horror. He hoped in vain.

As we walked back to my hotel, the gigantic crossed swords of Saddam’s Victory Arch seemed to reach the sky. Here, heaven and hell met. As I flew back to Britain the next day, I felt intense fear for the people of Iraq. I just hoped that a horrible ending would be better than unending horror. I hoped in vain.

Iraqis are very proud of their Christian heritage. Their country has descended into hell on earth. They are petrified and many Christians have fled Iraq, but those who remain still go regularly to church, such is the strength of their faith.

Also see

Habakkuk 3:17


The children of Iraq have names

Dinner with Canon Andrew White

The Fifth Mountain

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