When I was having a seriously bad time in life, long ago now, a friend gave me some precious words to read. What they say is pretty tough, but it tells me something as well. In the NIV they say:
"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.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to go on the heights."
He's not making it easy for himself, is he! Could I live up to that? At least, in my own strenght? Not much! I love drinking good coffee, and tea and hot chocolate, and...alright, that's enough. I live eating chocolate, and good wholegrain bread, and Italian food like spaghetti. It's pure joy getting into a good bookshop and seeing what I can buy. I love having our house to live in, not a tent. I sleeping in the same bed as my wife, not out under whatever shelter can be found. In fact this list could go on for several pages, listing all the things there are in life to be enjoyed because they give physical comfort and relief.
The old prophet makes a good point, though. These nice things are good to have. Life would be shorter, harder and grimmer without them. I'm seriously glad to have good pain relieving medication, and anti-depressant medication when needed. It would be a tough call to live up to what is said above. But I don't think Habakkuk was boasting.
If I understand it rightly, he was in a situation where things could not get much worse; and he realized, with the help of the Almighty, that he did not need to despair. Anything of this world is ONLY of this world. What is physical in ONLY physical. And it can all be lost because material things always have a 'use-by' date and then they're gone. What we sometimes learn, even though we would rather not, is that we can actually survive without them.
That does not mean give them all up. If you don't eat at all you starve, right? And being underweight because of body image is a serious problem even in the affluent Western world. So we do need certain things.
But what the prophet is telling us is, those things do not make life. What comes of the Spirit gives life. Jesus added to that when He pointed out, "Humanity does not live by bread alone." He said that to the devil itself - Satan in person, when the evil one tried to take advantage of Jesus' suffering to get Him to do what Satan said. And Jesus threw it right back! He did not need ordinary bread to survive. He needed God. When the time came, when the time in the wilderness was over, God gave Jesus all He needed - and because Jesus waited until God gave it, in His time, it was much much more that He received.
I pray for homeless people, unemployed people left high and dry by the economic collapse. It would be too easy for me to leave my house, carrying my credit card which is backed up by a steady income and deliver sermons at people. But then our family have been through some bad times, too. And we learnt. We need the things of God. When it all goes square-wheeled on Earth, remember God - and the love of God is what cannot be taken away by the rises and falls of the world.