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. Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)
These beautiful words cried out to me this morning and danced across the page...er...screen. I saw that the musical direction was that this prayer was to be accompanied by stringed instruments.
For one reason or another, this is a lesson God has been trying to teach me all year. Since I'm a teacher, I can't help but not pass it on. It's in my "genes". God has reminded me over and over again this past year that my relationship with Him is not dependent upon my circumstances. It is dependent upon Him! Our circumstances may change in an instant. People may come and go, but God never changes and God never abandons us.
I want to make this one of the prayers of my heart over the next year. My physical world around me can be shaken and appear to be lying in shambles but if my true dwelling place is in Christ, if my true place of citizenship/residence is in the Palace with the King, I can rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in the God of my salvation. I am under His protection and have nothing to fear!
Does this mean I will never experience trouble, grief, fear, pain or suffering? Absolutely not! However, I will not walk through those things alone and while the body may experience being wounded, sick, tormented or even destroyed, these things will not destroy me for I am alive in Christ Jesus.
May God bless all of you this year. May you never forget that your peace, your hope and your joy are founded on Christ alone. There is no other place to be nor no other place to go and remember...the very best is yet to be!
And if we step into the historic and cultural shoes of the prophet as he penned his words, we see truly what a desperate picture he painted. He's saying, even if I have nothing to eat at all and absolutely way to earn money and no possessions but the clothes on my back, I will praise the Lord! I will be joyful!
I simply don't know that I could be joyful in my praise if I had nothing to eat. I might praise out of duty or with the thought that I would be rewarded, but it would be by rote and not an overflow of joy.
While true praise in the worst of times may seem impossible, with God all things are possible. This is not to say discouragement will not creep up on us. The enemy hates joy because the joy of the Lord is our strength. He threw away joy and can't bear to watch us partake in it.
If someone would have told me that I would truly thank God for cancer, I would have thought they were crazy. However, I have seen God do some amazing things during my walk with cancer. Things that I would have missed out on if my eyes would have only been on cancer rather than on God. He has taught me so much and my love for Him has deepened even more.
While we feel like it may be impossible for joy to overflow during the hard times, it is surprising what really happens when the time comes.
Romans 15:13 (NIV)