Help from Habakkuk
January 31, 2009 | My Jottings
I’m in a women’s group called The SAGs. It’s an acronym for The Saving Graces, which certainly is what the other three women are to me. We have made it a habit to memorize scripture together over the years, and we all take turns choosing what verses we’ll work on each month. Then we get together at various local restaurants, laugh until our sides ache, cry until the tears fall on our food, listen as if our lives depended on it (they sometimes do) and recite our verses for the month together.
It was Lorna’s turn to choose the location and the scripture this month. We had dinner together at The Brew House, and here’s the memory assignment she gave us, from Habakkuk 3:17-18:
17 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,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
As I’ve pondered these two verses and worked on hiding them in my heart, it struck me how much a person must know and trust their God to be able to choose to rejoice in circumstances like these. In modern day terms, these verses might be loosely translated:
Even when every bit of my earthly provision dries up, and there’s no more job that brings a paycheck every two weeks so I can buy cereal and milk and chicken and apples and carrots for my family; even when there’s no longer a reliable vehicle in the garage, even when everywhere I turn something is broken and needs repair, even if there are holes in my shoes and creditors ringing my phone, even if my faithful pet dies and loneliness has never been so constant, I will still praise my God, and in faith, rejoice in the riches He gives me.
I wonder what it’s like to know God like this, to have experienced Him and believed His words and character so deeply, so completely, that when everything else is stripped away, one could still rejoice in the Lord. This would truly be living by faith and not sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
This is the way I want to live. At the present time I do have “olives on the vine and cattle in the stall”, but if these uncertain times ever change that, I want to be a woman who will choose to rejoice in the Lord. I’m glad Habakkuk says, “yet I will rejoice, I will be joyful in God my Savior” and does not reference any feeling or particular emotional inclination to rejoice. It would be a choice, an act of the will, in circumstances like these, to rejoice.
I’ve been told more than a few times that I’m strong-willed. I pray that the Lord will continually mold that will of mine so that no matter what happens in my life, I will to rejoice in Him.
This is the help and hope from Habakkuk I’ve recently received. What about you? Have you made praise and rejoicing a regular part of your life? Do you remember a time when you decided to praise God in a difficult situation? Have you ever known someone who lived this way? Would you be willing to share about it and possibly encourage a reader today?
This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it…