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…


  1. Lorna West says:

    Oh my friend Julie. How I love you. Thank you for your sincere heart and truthful words. Isn’t this the path of every sincere believer, to be able to one day honestly say, “Yah, my life is pretty scabby right now, but God, He is always GOOD!”? Kind of a run on sentence, but I hope you understood. Some days we’re close to being honest, some days we’re far. But that’s okay, because I don’t think we will ever really get there until we see our Jesus face to face. Then He will be the One Who helps us to truly be honest when we speak those beautiful words from Habakkuk. At least we can be honest about that.

  2. Dorothy Sooter says:

    Unfortunately I do not live like Habakkuk all of the time. I know that is no one’s responsibility but mine. I believe I do know someone that does and that is my Pastor’s wife Mary. I admire her so very much. I know the very difficult things she has experienced but she sings, prays and knows our God will answer. I feel blessed to call her my friend. I believe I shall choose to Thank God, Praise God, Call upon God and pray without ceasing. Thanks Julie, you have encouraged me to change my thoughts. Love, Dorothy

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