Sometimes, in the face of our fears, worries, challenges, and difficulties, we just need to hear some one say, “Everything is going to be okay.”
Because right now, when we read the news, scroll through Twitter feeds, listen to the radio, or plug into any other news source, how can we not tremble in fear or shudder in horror at what is going on in nearly every corner of the world? If we have any kind of compassion in our hearts, world events are shocking the bejeebers out of us.
It’s not the first time.
For ages and ages and ages, seasons of trouble and pain have been at hand.
In the days of Habakkuk, he foresaw the defeat of his nation and predicted the hardships that would follow.
He recorded his fears. They were real, identifiable fears. He wrote them down.
He did not discount them.
But, he did something else, even more crucial before his prophecy was fulfilled.
He chose not to discount his God either.
Habakkuk recounted the goodness of his God in days past and present. He chose to lift his eyes above the perilous times and lean hard upon the strength of his God.
Here are some of his words:
I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
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.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3: 16-19 NIV
In the context of this agricultural economy, there could be nothing worse than to experience crop failure and the loss of herds. With no means of provision, hunger, poverty, disease, and death were certain outcomes during these calamitous times. Faith and hope were sure to falter.
Yet, though the enemy was fast approaching and inevitable captivity was at hand, Habakkuk refused to allow his mind, his heart, and his soul to be harnessed to fear. True, his prayer began with an acknowledgement of the very real threat and present danger of the enemy. However, his prayer ended with a proclamation of faith in his God to take him through, up and over his challenges.
Under duress, in the face of doom and despair, Habakkuk resolved within his heart to joyfully acknowledge the strength and the hope his God had provided in the past, was providing today, and would provide in the future…come what may.
He said, “I am afraid. The threat is real. Life as I know it, will change for the worse.”
He said, “And yet, I will rejoice in the LORD.”
He said, “I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
He said, “The Sovereign LORD is my strength.”
He said, “My God empowers me with the mobility and grace of a deer to advance over mountainous terrain.”
What an amazing example for us to follow!
First, there is an acknowledgement of the challenge. Second, there is a decision to praise. Next, Habakkuk resolves to be joyful in his present circumstances. Fourth, Habakkuk draws upon the strength and power of his God to take him through his challenges.
What happens then for us for the times in which we live?
What happens when we are not spared cancer?
What happens when our loved one is taken from us suddenly?
What happens when our child has a disability?
What happens when we are betrayed by some one we love?
What happens when war thunders into our neighborhood and into our homes?
What happens when a deadly disease with no cure enters our country?
According to the relevant and timely example of Habakkuk, our God will see us through. This time, with this season of difficulty and eventual captivity, Habakkuk was not spared the journey; and there are times when we will not be spared the difficult, arduous trek either.
God enabled Habakkuk to advance forward towards the great heights of faith, trust, and dependence one step at a time. Habakkuk chose to believe that his God would take him through, help him overcome the obstacles that were ahead, and redeem the times of pain, hardship, captivity, and loss.
How can we not take hold of such encouragement during our present times????
Friends, I don’t know what all of your present circumstances are today. I don’t know if you feel lost, feel hopeless, feel unsure, feel angry, or perhaps even feel trapped by your present challenges. And I don’t know if the calamitous times are causing you to tremble in fear for your future, the future of your children, or the future of your nation, or the future of this world, let’s do what Habakkuk did.
Let us identify our fears and lay them out one-by-one before our God.
Let’s rejoice about what His God had done in the past.
Let’s joyfully give thanks for what is happening now.
And then, let’s step forward and allow our feet to be transformed and strengthened as we maneuver the cracks, crevices, and inclines of faith mountain.
The times are perilously similar, Friends.
Will we advance in faith, in courage, by strength, and through the enabling power of our God in joyful resolution?
A watching, fearful and trembling world desperately needs to see such a resolute, joyful faith.
Are we willing to take this faith climb past our fears to triumphant heights of joy, no matter what happens along the way?