Yet I Will Rejoice In The Lord
(This was originally posted in September 2022)
I remember the days when I was down and ill around this time the other year. I was having the symptoms of the virus. I had to celebrate my birthday on the bed. It was not the worst but my body was weak. I thank the Lord for the recovery He granted and the good health He's giving me each day since then.
I have friends, however, who are grieving due to death of a loved one. Some of them are going through trials due to illness. We have a few in our congregation who are not feeling well also. Others have to deal continually with perennial illness. I pray that the Lord will give us the grace to face our trials with faith trusting His goodness.
I know that trusting God is not really easy especially when our hopes are dashed and our prayer for healing is not granted.
It is hard to trust God when things around us are falling apart.
When we are in a relationship that's hurting and breaking us more than it builds us up, it's easier to panic than to be at peace.
The same thing happens when our painful past is haunting us or when our present situation is unstable and when our future looks bleak. We are prone to fret more than we stay calm. Trusting God is a challenge.
Likewise when our pocket is empty or our bank reserve is almost depleted and all the bills and loans are due, if not overdue, it is easier to worry than to be confident in God's providence. When circumstances in life are hard and unfavorable, one is tempted to complain and grumble than to be patient and humble.
"Yet even when all outward evidence points to the contrary, the church is called to trust in the Lord. This trust is based not on what we see but on who God is - the God who will *in wrath remember mercy* (Hab. 3:2). God's character is supremely revealed in Jesus Christ, the final *anointed* one (Hab. 3:13), in whom divine wrath and divine mercy meet. Because of Christ's saving work on the cross, God calls all people from every tribe and nation to place their trust in him, for 'the righteous shall live by faith' (Hab. 2:4).
"As believers around the globe meditate on Habakkuk's prophecy, may we all join together in affirming, 'Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.' (Hab. 3:17-18)" (From "The Global Message of Habakkuk" in "ESV Global Study Bible," 1258).
On his commentary on Habakkuk 3:17-18, John Calvin says, "The import of the whole is - 'Though neither the figs, nor the vines, nor the olives, produce any fruit, and though the field be barren, though no food be given, yet I will rejoice in my God;' that is, our joy shall not depend on outward prosperity; for though the Lord may afflict us in an extreme degree, there will yet be always some consolation to sustain our minds, that they may not succumb under evils so grievous; for we are fully persuaded, that our salvation is in God's hand, and that he is its faithful guardian."
Some of us are at our wit's end caused by anxiety due to loss of a loved one or loss of income, or perhaps by prolonged lockdown, unresolved conflict, or a combination of many unfavorable circumstances. It wouldn't help if we dwell on our anxious thoughts and yield to worry. Taking responsible actions while trusting God in tough times is a better option.
Calvin concludes, "We shall, therefore, rest quietly, though heaven and earth were rolled together, and all places were full of confusion; yea, though God fulminated [expressed vehement protest] from heaven, we shall yet be in a tranquil state of mind, looking for his gratuitous salvation."