Rejoicing in the Lord

Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength…   (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Over 100,000 people have died.  More than 40 million are unemployed.  Many businesses will never reopen.  People are going to food-banks because they have no food to feed their families.  Who could ever have imagined that so much could change so quickly?

With so many losses and challenges, with so much worry and fear, it can be really hard not to see everything except through the lens of despair and grief.

If all the news is getting us down, if it seems harder and harder to see any bright spots, any hope, any relief during this time, I believe that today’s scripture might have something to say to us.

We don’t know much about the prophet named Habakkuk.  We don’t know when he wrote, why he wrote, where he was from.  What we do know is that he was wrestling with a question that nearly all of us ask ourselves at some point in our lives: Where is God when things are bad?

I don’t, of course, know what you have had to face during this time; I don’t know if you have lost someone, or lost your business or job or savings; I don’t know if you have fallen into a depression or become so anxious you can’t sleep; I don’t know if you have so far not suffered any of the above and are simply having to carry on at home a bit restricted.  What I do know, though, is that regardless of your circumstances you can, as Habakkuk says, “rejoice in the Lord.” I also know that when you rejoice in the Lord, the more God’s strength, again as the prophet says, will be given to you; and, finally, I know that with God’s strength, you will have the hope you need to carry on.

How could we possibly rejoice in the Lord during the crisis we are in?  That is a fair question.  But let us put aside the whole COVID crisis for a moment and ask another question.  Given all we have, given every breath we take, given all of our blessings, given work to do, given skills to make a difference, given a mind to think and learn, given so many opportunities to grow, given a heart to feel, given people to love, children to raise, friends to share life with, how can we not rejoice in the Lord?

Even though this is a very difficult time, we can still rejoice in the Lord.  Our rejoicing in the Lord isn’t always connected to the outward circumstances of our lives. We rejoice, finally, in the Lord because we belong to Him and because He is with us and because His love never fails.

Reflection Questions:

  1.  During this time, has it been hard or easy for you to rejoice in the Lord?
  1.  Despite all the challenges you are now facing, what causes you to rejoice?
  1.  How would your life change if when you rejoiced in the Lord you believed that the Lord rejoices in you?

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