Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vine; though the labor of the olive may fail, and fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls–– yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like the deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:17-19
When circumstances fail-when situations falter-we are shaken. A loved one dies suddenly. Debilitating illness strikes. We lose a job. A relationship fails. How do we rebound when life seems to take more from us than it gives—life looks empty, hopeless, desolate?
The Prophet Habakkuk reminds us that rejoicing is always the appropriate posture for us in desperate times. To exalt is to spin around under the influence of any violent emotion. In other words, when life is tough and times are desperate, we should spend our energy praising and rejoicing instead of griping and complaining. Habakkuk understood this all to well. God had already revealed that tough times lay ahead. He knew trials were approaching that the people would have to navigate through—not around or over. There would be pain and disappointment…even for this covenant people of God. The issue wasn’t “if” but when.
So, how can we navigate the uncertainty that will undoubtedly occur in our lives?
Look back to gain perspective
Pause to reflect on what God has already been doing in your life. His care for you isn't inconsistent––He has been and will be faithful. I appreciate the way Moses, Jehoshaphat, and others often approached God from the platform of what He had already done in their lives. When Jehoshaphat and Israel faced being massacred by three enemy armies, the people stood together and declared how God had protected them in the past. They looked back and reflected on His faithfulness, mercy and compassion. These reflections on the past became the basis of their petitions for His help in the present. Their reflections inspired hope and confidence in God’s ability to do it again. It enhanced their ability to hear God clearly regarding their next steps.
Consider God's unchanging nature
Rejoice in the truth that God is not like us—that’s a good thing. He doesn’t possess our shortcomings and frailties. He's not fickle, inconsistent, capricious or trifling. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, loving, merciful, and forgiving. He is the LORD—He changes not (Malachi 3:6). He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Because of this, we can rest in the bold assurance that He will not violate or contradict His own nature. God will not operate contrary to Who He is––we often do––but He never does.
Our confidence can never rest solely in people’s capacity––people fail. Most days, we don't intend to, but we do. God never fails. We navigate uncertainty by clinging to the One who's always trustworthy and reliable.
Muse over the depth of His love for you
I recently attended a leadership conference where a speaker asked what we might say if we wrote letters to our 10-year old self. I didn't have to think too hard about my answer. I would tell 10-year-old me to grab hold of and embrace the vastness of God's love for me––even if I didn’t understand it. As I thought through the question and made personal notes, it occurred to me that almost every misstep in my life has been connected to a lack of awareness or doubt of God's love for me. When I question who I am, I’m ignoring His love for me. When I seek wholeness and significance from people or relationships, I am overlooking His love for me. When I wonder if He hears my prayers, I am forgetting how much He truly loves me.
The truth is, He adores me, and He adores you! We are the apple of His eye, the very center of His attention. Embracing and understanding of this love grounds us in uncertain times. It establishes us internally, centers us on the truth of His character, and fosters resilience within us.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8
In uncertain times, be even more diligent to listen for and talk to God. The psalmist looked ahead in anticipation of hearing God’s voice and His heart. That anticipation fostered peace in his own heart to quell anxiety and turmoil. Turbulent and uncertain times will come…. Of this we can be assured. If you doubt that, then wake up, you’re not paying attention. However, God’s steadfast love is a certainty as well. It fills us with hope, fuels our resiliency and guides our direction. We can place our whole confidence in God—He’s worthy of it.
Navigating uncertain times isn't as much about conquering giants as much as it is about staying close to and holding steady with the One who is in the battle with you. When it comes to people and situations, we can never be certain what will happen––there are too many variables. However, when it comes to our relationship with God, we can be certain His love will never waver or run out—His character is trustworthy. With this truth as our compass, we can confidently navigate any uncertainty that lies ahead knowing we are on the journey with the God who causes all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
Stay close to Him. Live beautiful
#Preaching2Myself #InsightsFromHabakkuk #LiveBeautiful