Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3: 17-18
As a young woman I worked in a Christian supply store, with a girl named Dawn. Dawn was gorgeous, with long, silky brown hair. A real hippy type, Dawn was down to earth, loveable, a favorite with all the customers, and why not, she was a dream wrapped in a pretty bow. I loved Dawn.
Dawn’s favorite saying used to be, “We’ll just praise the Lord, anyway.” No matter what happened, or how rough our day had been, there would be Dawn, standing in all her loveliness, and reminding us to “…praise the Lord, anyway.” Perhaps Dawn had stumbled onto something Habakkuk already knew: God is worthy of our praise, no matter what is happening in our lives. Empty fruit trees, empty vines, empty olive branches. It’s a pretty bleak scene. Add to that, barns that stand silent, empty fields, full of dead and rotting sheep, goats and camels. Emptiness all around, and yet God gives us the ability to rejoice in Him. Wow! What a wonderful Savior we serve. Even in the roughest times, when all the logical sense we have says that we should despair, the prophet insists, we CAN rejoice in our Lord.
Years ago, I heard that happiness is a choice. Joy may be found, all it takes is a realignment of our priorities. Are we more concerned with wallowing in pain and freakish misery, or can we hope to rise above our circumstances and embrace a God who is good, even in the bad times? While it may be that some of us struggle with chronic pain and problems that don’t respond to easy answers, in our souls, where the real battle against despair is fought, we do well to reaffirm God’s truth and His will for us today.
Sometimes, the emptiness lingers simply because we need to develop that ability to find joy in the Lord, despite our circumstances. Every day is another chance to practice this art. What “thing” are you holding onto today, hoping it will bring you joy? What “thing” have you lost, convinced you can never be happy again? Let’s just praise the Lord, anyway. He’s good, all the time!