I am not too keen on waking up early for the Cross Country season. As I get older, I appreciate extra sleep. Even so, I love the drives to school for practice. I especially enjoy the moment alone when I’m driving the back road and witnessing all of the beauty around me. God never ceases to amaze me.
This morning, as I drove home, I looked before me and praised God for the beautiful farmland. I rejoiced in the amazing sunrise I was experiencing as I sang along to a praise song on the radio. Before I knew it, I was even more amazed. Three deer were prancing along. I slowed down the van as they crossed the road. They continued to leap through the corn field, and then they crossed the road again. For a moment, everything around me stopped. All the noise. All the busyness. All eyes focused on God’s creation doing the simplest of things—leaping along through the corn field.
I was reminded this morning of the great promise written in Isaiah, the promise that “the lame will leap like a deer.” God heals. God restores. God alone qualifies us. He is our strength. Praise Him and Him alone. Continue to press forward and tread on the heights He places before you. Leap like a deer today!
“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:19a [NIV]
“The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.” – Isaiah 35:6 [NLT]
If our joy rests on our circumstances, we do not have true joy. If your joy rests on things going the way we want, you do not have true joy. If joy rests on what you have and who you are with, this is not true joy. Circumstances change. Things don’t always go the way you want. We will not always have the same constant people in our lives. The things we have are temporary—they break, they are lost, their value is temporal.
In Habakkuk 3, we read about things not going well. The fig trees, vines, and fields aren’t producing. The livestock is not productive either. This is a big problem. No food. No money. Circumstances aren’t good at all. Even so, we read, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
How can there be joy? How can he take joy? The reason for joy is for knowing God—for trusting Him. When we rest in Him, when we know Him – truly know Him (requires a relationship)—then we can take joy in Him too. No matter what is going on today, take joy in Him. As John 16:22 says, the joy we have in Him, in our salvation, no one can take away.
“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.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18 [ESV]
When things are going great in life, we can always find reason to cheer. Yay! My daughter just had a baby. Yay! I just got a promotion. Yay! I won a contest. But what do you do when things aren’t going so well in life?
We are to be joyful in all situations—at all times in life. We are to rejoice always, when things are going well and when we don’t really feel like rejoicing. Do you feel like rejoicing when your mother is sick in the hospital? Do you feel like rejoicing when your house just burned to the ground? Do you feel like rejoicing when you lose your job?
We don’t always feel like rejoicing but it’s because of our attitude. We look to what we lost rather than to what we have gained. We always have a reason to rejoice. We always have a reason to be joyful. These moments are temporal. God has given us so much—eternal life, eternal blessings, and even right now as I am going through some very dark moments in my own life, I can look around and easily see that I am blessed. Yet I will rejoice. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Lord! Praise God for He is ALWAYS good!
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; 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 [NLT]
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:17-19 [NIV]
On Saturday mornings we have a family tradition that occurs almost like clockwork. Since my children were born nearly every Saturday morning I make us a big breakfast with pancakes, eggs, etc. When I make pancakes, there is something that I do that many people would find quite odd; I purposely burn a few pancakes for myself.
When I was a young girl, I fondly remember my grandma making my cousin and I both pancakes for breakfast. We would eat countless pancakes as my grandma continued to add more to our pile. As she got older, the pancakes changed. There were times when she would burn the pancakes because she couldn’t keep up like she had in years past. I couldn’t refuse to eat her pancakes. I ate the burnt pancakes and developed a taste for them. Hence the reason I have burnt pancakes that I make for myself now.
In life, we will be handed some delicious pancakes, but there will be times when burnt ones will come our way too. It is how you respond to those burnt pancakes that show your true colors—who you really are as a person. Anyone can gladly accept the good things in the life—but not everyone can joyfully accept the bad things.
Today, rejoice and be joyful in all situations, remembering that God has a much bigger picture. It’s really not about the pancakes at all.
There are moments in life when you feel drained, overwhelmed by your current situation. In those seasons of life, it is difficult to find the strength to do much of anything. Breathing alone can sometimes be a chore. Things don’t always go your way. Promises are not always kept. Relationships do not always work out. People cannot always be relied upon. Your workplace can be stressful. Your co-workers can test your patience. You can find yourself wanting nothing more but a holiday away from everything. You can find yourself wanting so badly to scream at the top of your lungs.
These are simply moments in life, but they go away. Our biggest moments of weakness can actually become our greatest moments with God’s strength. When we are weak, then He may show His strength. When we humble ourselves and are low, He lifts us up. When we are at the lowest point in our life, He shows us the compassion, the grace that no other can provide. We are not promised life without tribulation, but we are promised to never be forsaken. The Bible says that we are the apple of His eye. The Bible says that He has a plan and a purpose.
So if you are having one of those moments in life where you are feeling drained, fear not for God is with you. You don’t have to walk this stretch alone. Your burdens in life may be heavy, but His yoke is light. Your stressors may be getting the best of you, but they won’t get the rest of you. Give whatever you have, all you can to God, and watch how things turn around. In His time, in His way, He will provide you the strength you need through Him so that you can overcome.
“The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.” – Habakkuk 3:19 [NASB]