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There’s something powerful about praising God; especially, when it feels like we have nothing left.
Delighting in Him pushes logic off the cliff of reason when we there is no patience, energy, resources or vision for a would-be victory. And yet, even if there’s no fruit from our labor, no “get up” in our go or no other shoulder to cry on but His, there is a sacred choice in our suffering.
Notice I didn’t say it was an easy choice. Depending on our situation, joy may seem like a ridiculous choice.
Habakkuk, a prophet in the Old Testament, didn’t think so. Here’s his list of sorrows.
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! (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT)
Habakkuk faced failing crops, barren fields, dead livestock and empty barns. And yet, he decided being joyful in God was better than being miserable over what was missing from his life.
Maybe you can top his list.
Maybe instead of crops you’ve lost a job or a loved one.
Maybe instead of barren fields, you’re facing a barren womb, battling an illness or picking up the pieces of a broken dream.
I have my list too.
And yet, Habakkuk’s gumption gets my attention. Although his life looked like he was running on empty, he managed to muster a ridiculous faith.
Faith is funny like that. As long as we can make sense of life or see things going our way, faith may feel like a routine warmth telling us we’re in a good place.
But in the face of the unknown, if we’re willing to know God, faith takes us to places we can’t imagine.
It takes what looks hopeless and makes it a footstool, so we can step up and see God.
As we take steps toward Him, all our motivations for following Christ are measured by this one truth: In Him, we have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. (see Colossians 1:13-15)
This praising prophet shows us,
It’s one thing to linger for a moment and look at our losses, but it’s another thing to look at God’s salvation.
Trying times test how much we value His gift. And if we hold onto its value, joy erupts.
For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be. (Romans 5:2 TLB)
Are you running on empty? Does the thought of believing God for one more thing sound ridiculous?
You’re positioned to have ridiculous faith. It’s a radical declaration that God is more than enough for whatever we lack.
It’s a constant realization that He is more than able to accomplish every promise He’s made and address every human concern.
I’ve faced painful possibilities and daunting facts and struggled to maintain my faith. But choosing joy in the face of frustration, disappointment and fear, changes our perspective.
Just ask Habakkuk.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.(Habakkuk 3:19 NLT)
No amount of failing crops, barren fields, dead livestock and empty barns could keep him from becoming all God had in mind for him to be — surefooted and able to tread on the heights.
Thanks for the lesson Habakkuk.
The height of my problems are always subject to the salvation of my God. That may sound ridiculous to some. But it’s increasingly real to me. He gives strength, victory and an endless supply of hope for the heart and joy to the soul.