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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Just Praise God Anyway

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NIV)
17  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,
18  yet I will rejoice in the LORD
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19  The Sovereign LORD is my strength; 
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, 
he enables me to go on the heights. 

Things don't aways go badly. Sometimes they go so badly that bad is no longer an adequate description. The unexpected bill joins forces with the car breaking down, the washing machine water supply hose breaks and floods the downstairs of the house and the heater just won't come on. It is at this time that your boss tells you that your job is in jeopardy and your daughter reveals a tattoo from a parlor that has been known to spread hepatitis. Meanwhile it is suspected that your next door neighbor may have a deadly communicable disease which he received while on a mission trip to West Africa.

Do you still praise the Lord?

Extremely tough times do not determine what we believe. They prove it.

There was a time I read those verses almost every day. I was spending increasing amounts of time working in the ministry. The ministry was failing. I remember working three weeks without a day off. I worked seven days a week for at least ten hours each day. I took one day off and a lady from the church called me to ask why I wasn't at work. She may never know that she was just an agent of Satan. 

I couldn't get my head above water no matter how hard I tried and I read those verses and shouted, " Yes, Lord, I will praise you! No matter what, I will praise you!" I was very unsure of that last statement. I didn't really know if I would praise Him tomorrow. 

I hung on those last words: The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights." I knew that I was in the lows but if I was ever to get to the heights I would need His strength and sovereignty. So, I praise Him for a future I could not see but knew was coming.

No one escapes bad times. They always seem to last forever. They claim that we are doomed. Yet, those who know the Lord also know that He is sovereign and will give us strength to carry on through the bad times. He will make us as those who will climb the heights. The days of woe do not last for the Lord of glory has His hands on every one of them and limits their ability to cut us off from Him.

So, just praise the Lord, anyway. The bad days have a short shelf life.

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