(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The above photo is great! It is a vibrant depiction of joy and rejoicing! Obviously, something wonderful must have happened in the life of this young woman! If you can’t make out the small print in the lower left of the photo, it says, “In all your situation the Lord is your strength. He will make you strong.” What wonderful statements of faith! What wonderful promises from the Lord!
But do these statements apply in the challenging situations we face today?
- There is a world-wide pandemic that does not seem to be going away any time soon!
➪ While some places seem to be quieting down, other places are hot spots! ➪ Most businesses have been negatively affected, and many have had to close up shop, even permanently! ➪ In the United States, as of August 17, there were 5,566,632 reported cases of Covid-19, and 173,128 deaths from this virus! ➪ A vaccine is not expected to be available for at least a year by some estimates.
- While the stock market is recovering, the national debt has increased to almost 27 trillion dollars, at a rate of a million dollars every 23 seconds! This is unsustainable, and many are predicting and economic meltdown!
- There are demonstrations concerning police brutality and racial injustice that too often turn into riots and looting!
➪ As of August 15th, there have been 79 straight nights of protests (riots) in Portland, Oregon! ➪ The damages of the riots and looting in hundreds of cities across our nation has not yet been calculated, but estimates are in many billions of dollars!
We could go on and on about what is wrong with our nation and this world. But I believe God is using these troubling times to call us to return wholeheartedly to Him! What will happen if we don’t? It could be what the prophet Habakkuk was facing when he penned the three chapters of his book.
- The Babylonians were about to invade the kingdom of Judah and put an end to it!
- Many Jews would die! Jerusalem, their capital city, would be reduced to ruins (as would many other Judean cities and towns)!
- Their temple would be looted, burned, and razed – the center of the Jews thousand-year religion – gone!
Habakkuk was at first aghast at why God would use a nation more wicked than Judah to punish Jewish unfaithfulness! (see Habakkuk 1:12-17). But the LORD told him the Babylonians would be judged even more harshly than Judah for their wickedness and cruelty! (Read Habakkuk chapter 2). The prophet, in chapter 3, finally came to accept the judgment God would shortly bring on the Hebrew nation. And in a statement of great faith, Habakkuk wrote the last three verses of his book:
Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls — yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Habakkuk was saying:
No matter what happens, no matter how bad it gets, even if society and the economy collapses and I am going hungry – yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
That is true and trusting faith!
Go back to the beginning of this Gem. Look again at the wonderful photo of that joyous young woman. Read again the inspiring words in large and small print imposed on the photo. The problem is that those words are taken out of context!
- It is easy to say such things, even quoting the prophet Habakkuk, when you are the recipient of God’s obvious positive blessings!
- It is quite another matter when you are facing devastation! Is your faith strong enough for you to rejoice even if you are heading for a national crises, and maybe personal starvation and death?
I want my faith to be that strong!
- That is why I actively pursue being a follower of Jesus Christ.
- That is why I focus so much on reading and studying the Bible. For “…faith comes…by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
- And that is why I write and publish these Gems, so others can also be built up in their Christian faith – faith strong enough to get them through whatever lies ahead!