May 12, 2015

Habakkuk 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Habakkuk is considered a “minor” prophet because the record of his prophecies is so short, but the content is hardly inferior to that recorded by other prophets. 2:2-3 is a passage that has been given to this church repeatedly, and the last three verses of the book are one of the most magnificent statements of faith in the whole Bible. This particular verse would serve well as a slogan and founding principle for every Christian on earth! It is perfectly in line with what Jesus said in John 16:33. “In this world you will have trouble, but rejoice, for I have overcome the world.” There is literally no end to the issues we bump into as long as we are on this earth, but when our hearts are fixed on the One who created it all and is over it all, then all those issues become minor bumps in the road, strengthening and training us for eternity with our Lord. Genuinely joyful people aren’t free of problems, they have simply chosen to submit and trust those problems to God and rejoice in Him anyway. That’s what Habakkuk is saying here. Starving to death is hardly a minor issue, but even faced with that prospect, Habakkuk chooses to rejoice. He is certainly one of the “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) who testify to the faithfulness of God.

I continue to feel like I haven’t had to endure very much, particularly when I think of what some other people go through, but that’s not to say my life has been “enjoyable” every moment. I have had moments when suicide was a genuine temptation. Even so, God has been more than faithful, and it is easier and easier to make Habakkuk’s choice. Reasons for anxiety and even despair abound in the world today, but if my heart is indeed fixed on my Lord, I can have peace and joy even in the middle of it all. I don’t know what will happen in the short term – no one ever really does – but I have the assurances of God’s Word that in the long term, everything will be glorious, and my heart says a hearty AMEN to that. As noted in Lamentations during a time of incredible calamity, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) I have experienced that, morning by morning by morning, and I must never forget it.

Father, thank You indeed for peace and joy in the middle of a turbulent world. Thank You for the time You assured me personally that there is much that is not pleasing to You right now, but that You are still in control. Help me remember that always, and rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as Habakkuk did, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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