Habakkuk seemed to have it backwards. He tells us to rejoice in failure. “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.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV)
Certainly the events of 2020 could have given Habakkuk’s situation a run for its money. Last year gave us a longer list than you might realize. We had political acrimony, the Covid 19 pandemic, economic hardships, racial tension and cultural conflict. 2020 was just one wave of bad news after another.
As the past few months have shown us, there are times on this earth when everything seems to fall apart. It can be a major calamity or it can even be an accumulation of small things, but sometimes it seems like life is just not fair.
When it Rains…
There is a reason people say, “It never rains, but it pours”, because calamities and irritations seem to travel in a pack. Failure happens. Something mechanical breaks down. A relationship gets strained. A bill comes due, and there is no money in the account to pay it. Cable goes out just before the big game… And sometimes, it all seems to happen at once.
Habakkuk says that even in the midst of breakdowns and unfortunate circumstances, “Yet I will rejoice in The Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior”. Habakkuk says “I will”. He chooses to see the good God has done and refuses to dwell on the evil around him. God does not afflict us, He offers us salvation.
God uses even bad circumstances for good–to build patience, to draw us closer to Him, or to make us more like His son. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I know that’s easy to say, and harder to believe, but God promises that He can provide the silver lining behind every dark cloud.
So when you encounter failure, the crops fail, and the fridge is empty, don’t give up! Like Habakkuk, say “I will be joyful”! Sometimes happiness is a matter of deciding to be, anyway. If you are experiencing something difficult, don’t despair. Winston Churchill said, during England’s dark days under Nazi attack: “When you are going through hell, keep going.”
Habakkuk takes that challenge even further. He says we should flip the tables on it and rejoice! Joy is a choice we can make, and the Lord promises that He will work within even your worst circumstances for your good, and to give you reasons to rejoice. When the worst happens, we may not gain triumph over circumstances from an earthly perspective, but we can gain intimacy with God, and He can use circumstances to improve us. Habakkuk also says that we can choose to rejoice no matter what, so take heart: choose joy.
Habakkuk says, when times are hard, that he will still rejoice: Could it be, like trusting God, that joy can be a choice? Though circumstances flail you, don't allow them to derail you, So whatever that entails and whatsoever may assail you, Place hope and trust in God, and know that He will never fail you!
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