In-Spite-Of Joy

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,  yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

It is easy to praise God and find joy in Him when everything is life is going well. But, praise and joy are often the last elements we consider when dealing with the hardships of this world. Yet, in the Scriptures above, the prophet Habakkuk teaches us that, in spite of the devastation that may be occurring around us, we must still rejoice in the Lord.

In the three short chapters of Habakkuk, the prophet had a dialogue with God regarding Habakkuk’s perception that God was slow to help His people in a time of tremendous spiritual and cultural degradation. He complained of violence in the streets, people arguing and fighting constantly, injustice in the courts, and wicked people outnumbered righteous people. Do these complaints not sound familiar to you today? But, don’t let it worry you. God has not forgotten us, and He is still in control!

The level of disrespect and intolerance in America today saddens me, and I ask, how long, Lord, will this continue? Can we survive as a nation with divisions such as liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, climate change supporter or climate change deniers? And the disagreement and seeming hatred occurs even across the Body of Christ! Jesus said in Matthew 12:25 that every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. Yet, in spite of the daily deluge of ugliness and hatefulness that I read or hear, I believe there is still reason to praise God and rejoice in Him.

I believe that we must wait patiently for God’s answers, for they will surely come, in His own ways and in His own time. Even though I sometimes don’t understand why so much pain, sorrow, hate, and tears exist today, I trust God to  keep His promises. He promised that in the day when the new Branch of David’s family appears, nothing will hurt or destroy in His holy mountain, that the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord, that the land where He lives will be a glorious place, and that jealousy and rivalry will no longer exist among His people (Isaiah 11:8-13).

So, let’s demonstrate some in-spite-of joy today, and let us remember that we still have a lot to praise God for, if just for breathing! Regardless of how big the troubles seem in America and around the world, let us remember that the Day of the Lord is still at hand, and that we can rejoice in the God of our salvation, who still protects and provides for His people, regardless of the policies or lack of policies by politicians. Praise the Lord!

Father in Heaven,

I will continue to praise you, even if I lose my health insurance, or I lose my job,  or if wars continue unabated. I will rejoice in the Name of my Savior, and I will continue to tell others of Your greatness and of their need to let You guide their hearts and minds. I admit that sometimes I am nearly frozen in fear at the level of hate and the lack of compassion expressed in America and around the world today. But, I will continue to trust in You, in spite of it all. Thank you for daily meeting our needs! In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

 

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