I Will Rejoice In the Lord
Beginning in the mid 1990s through early 2000s, our family went through a challenging few years when, because of downsizing, restructuring, and last-in-first-out, my husband lost several jobs. While we had a significant season of tightening our belts and doing without with no certain end in sight, the Lord graciously sustained us throughout this period of time, providing for us physically, emotionally and spiritually.
During that long stretch, the passage from Habakkuk 3:17-18 meant a lot to me, “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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Many of us may be facing a season of deprivation and uncertainty ourselves right now, and we may resonate with these words from Habakkuk. We open the cupboard and the supplies are dwindling. We open the checkbook and there might not be enough to cover the bills. Or maybe we haven’t quite gotten to that point yet, but have a level of anxiety that we might be in want one day, because what I call the “what-if monsters” are eating us alive (What if the job doesn’t come back? What if my family or I get the virus? What if we run out of food? What if our retirement gets eaten away?).
But Habakkuk has a remedy for the anxiety when he says “though” and “I will.” “Though” acknowledges the hard realities. It doesn’t soft pedal or deny the truth. Habakkuk paints a pretty dire picture of their situation, calling it for what it is. It reminds me of when Hezekiah laid his enemy’s letter out before the Lord and acknowledged the dire nature of his predicament, yet knew the right place to turn, no matter how high the odds.
Habakkuk takes the “though”, however, and adds to it “I will”. The “I will” is an act of intention. It is a determination, a decision. “I will” what? “I will rejoice.” I will “choose joy,” as a recently popular song says. But this, again, is not about just putting on a happy face. Habakkuk is not rejoicing in his situation—he isn’t saying “no big deal, there’s no problem here”—he is rejoicing the Lord, in God his Savior. When our circumstances are difficult, and there seems to be nothing else to rejoice in, we redeemed ones can, at the very least, rejoice in our salvation. Watch out! Did you hear a little hissing voice saying in your head, “Is that all?” or “So what” concerning your salvation? Our enemy wants us to forget what a blessing our salvation is. He wants us to have a been-there-done-that attitude. He wants us to approach God with a “What have you done for me lately?” attitude and forget to rejoice daily that we have been saved from eternal condemnation, eternal separation from the Lord, and eternal punishment for our sins. Satan wants us to forget that we could never have been good enough on our own. He wants us to downplay how bad we really are, how hopelessly lost we were, how much debt we owe that we could never, ever hope to repay. If we had not one other good thing in our lives, the fact that we have God as our Savior should be enough to make us the most joyous people on the planet. This reality can be ours if we would but decide to will ourselves to choose to rejoice in Him—not in our circumstances, but in our gracious, amazing Lord.
Somewhere along this challenging journey I did a study of scriptural reasons to rejoice. I came up with 13 pages of such reasons, so let me share a few of these with you to get you started on your own list. I can guarantee that intentionally focusing on the scriptural reasons to rejoice in the Lord will give you a lift, no matter what circumstances you face. It is a powerful way to turn our worry into worship as we rejoice in God, our Savior.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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