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Thursday, June 8, 2017

When Things Go Wrong, Rejoice!

Murphy's Law says that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. There are times in life when it seems like all the things that can go wrong are going wrong, all at the same time. When faced with times like these, we can sit and wallow in self-pity and sorrow. We can grumble and complain and say, "Woe is me!" Or we can do what Habakkuk did.

In chapter 3, verse 17, the prophet Habakkuk presents a list of the things that are going wrong. The fig tree is not blossoming, there is no fruit on the vines, the olive crops are failing, and the fields are not producing any food. And, if that weren't enough, the flock has been cut off from the fold and the stalls are empty! (Habakkuk 3:17) But Habakkuk isn't complaining about this. He's not whining about these things. What he says in the next verse is what we should all say in times when we are suffering or when Murphy's Law is raging. Habakkuk says that, despite all these things, he will rejoice in the Lord, he will take joy in the God who has provided his salvation (Habakkuk 3:18).

God provides us with all we need to get through difficult times. He gives us the ability to walk through them because He is our strength. When it seems like we can't possibly walk through the difficulties and suffering that we face, when life is an uphill battle, God gives us exactly what we need to climb the hills that stand before us. I love the imagery that Habakkuk uses to describe this. In Habakkuk 3:19, he say that God makes his feet like those of a deer, so that he can tread on those high places. Habakkuk is likely referring to the ibex, which is a desert-dwelling deer that is able to easily climb and descend steep rocky hills.

When we rejoice in God through our sufferings and difficulties, when we put our trust in Him, like an ibex, we are able to walk through those hills of life easily. Rejoicing through our sufferings and difficulties will build endurance in us, it enables us to persevere. That, in turn, builds character in us, and character builds hope (Romans 5:3-4). That hope is not blind hope, but hope that is based on the grace and faithfulness of God. It is a hope that will never disappoint.


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