How to Praise God in a Pandemic

How to Praise in a Pandemic

Everyone has those special Bible Verses God uses over and over again to speak directly to us.

In my life, Habakkuk 3 is one of them. God puts this scripture in front of me every time I need a little reality check.

Honestly, I’ve thought I was in dire straits before. But the current global crisis we’re living through puts them all to shame. I realize now, no matter how hard I thought I had it, I never knew real hardship until now. And this piece of scripture has never been more relevant than it is during this pandemic.

 

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 3:17-19

When Habakkuk wrote these words, he knew his people were moving into a time of struggle. Soon they would be without the basic necessities of life. The food and water that was once abundant would become scarce. A safe harbor would be hard to find. And survival would become an epic battle of willpower.

But Habakkuk also knew if they continued praising God even in the midst of hardship, He would see them through this troubling time.

Each part of this verse speaks to the effects of a pandemic on our daily lives.

Though the fig tree may not blossom…

In ancient times, the fig tree was plentiful, and the fruit used to make cakes, candy, or other sweets. For us, the fig represents the creature-comforts, the little luxuries we enjoy. We like them but we can live without them too.

Nor fruit be on the vines:

We turn an important corner in this part of the verse. Instead of missing the luxuries, we can do without, we begin to talk about the essentials. The fruit of the vine became wine, an important commodity back then. It was used not only to drink with dinner but also to purify water. Without grapes, there would be no wine. And without wine no life-sustaining drinking water. Nowadays, we have filtration systems that supply fresh water to our homes and easily accessible bottled water. But when systems break down or truckers can’t deliver, our most essential commodity is cut off.

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Though the labor of the olive may fail’

And the fields yield no food…

The people used olive oil the same way we use butter. Without this precious oil, there would be no bread to eat. And without the crops, no vegetables on the table.

 

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls…

Ancient people were not vegetarians (sorry vegans). They relied on flocks of sheep and herds of goats for protein. And without access to these animals, they would starve.

In modern times, we rely on farmers and ranchers to supply both of these sources of food. But during this crisis, they’re struggling to keep up with the demand and deliver their goods to market. Without their hard work and commitment, we’ll struggle to find what we need to feed our families at the grocery store.

Our lives have been turned upside down by a pandemic we couldn’t see coming. Everything we once had is gone. At least for the time being. But there is still hope for us. And it comes in the form of praising God in a pandemic.

Sounds crazy, right?

How can we praise God when the world is falling apart?

Truthfully, if Habakkuk could see the defeat of his people coming on the horizon, still remember the times God saw His people through hardship, and praise Him in such dire circumstances, then surely we can find it in ourselves to do the same too.

Because God has not forgotten us. Our struggle is not invisible to Him. And He is still there in the fight with us.

I was reminded of this while I was taking a shower the other night, (I do all my best thinking in the shower ya’ll) 🛁

God chose that moment to speak words of wisdom into my heart. They’re an updated version of Habakkuk 3, a mirror image of this scripture for a modern time. I’d like to share them with you now. But please remember they are not meant to replace scripture, only to understand it better. Here’s what God had to say to me.

Even though toilet paper is in short supply and I can’t find it anywhere…

I will praise You!

Even though there’s a meat shortage on the horizon and I have no idea how I will feed my family…

I will praise You!

Even though I’ve lost my job and I don’t know how I’ll pay the bills…

I will praise You!

Even though my grandma is on lockdown in a nursing home, I can’t visit her, and now she’s being tested for COVID-19…

I will praise You!

Even though I’ve lost a loved one to this terrible virus and my heart is broken…

I will praise You!

Even though the future seems so uncertain and I’m scared…

I will praise You!

Praising God is more than wishful thinking. It’s a resolve to have faith in hardship. And it’s understanding that even if we lose everything, we still have the God of our salvation.

Our confidence in our loving Father is unshakable because we know He has us in the palm of His hand. And we understand He will give us the strength to face whatever lies ahead.

This is the same confidence Habakkuk wrote about in verse 19.

 

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.

Deer never wonder if they’re gonna plummet to their death when they scale a rocky mountain cliff. They instinctively know their feet are made for it. They’re unwavering in their ascent, jumping higher and higher until they reach the top. Sure-footed and confident.

So, let’s keep ascending higher and higher in our faith, believing God is our strength in times of trouble. And allow Him to give us sure-footed deer’s feet as we praise Him through this pandemic.

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Your Labor is Not in Vain – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Your Labor is Not in Vain 1 Corinthians 15:58

Does it seem like no matter how hard you work nothing ever changes? Are you worn out from the demands of daily life? Believe me, I feel your pain. We’ve all been there and sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get through it.

No matter how weary or exhausted you feel right now, God doesn’t want you to remain there. He wants you to be energized and ready to take on the world. So, He gave us some much needed inspiration for a time such as this. Here’s His promise for a worn out, down-right tired heart.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
                                                                                                                                         1 Corinthians 15:58

Let’s break this down into bite sized pieces and find out exactly what Paul meant when he wrote these words.

My beloved brethren…

Like many of the promises within the Bible this one is meant for us, the body of Christ and not the whole world. God has so much that He wants to give us, but we must be a believer first in order to be partakers of His promises.

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
                                                                                    2 Peter 1:3-4

Steadfast…

We are to be focused on Jesus, and to continue focusing on Him even when life throws us a curveball. At times, it can seem to be a hard task, but if we remain steadfast we will see a real change happening. Instead of the daily chaos of life, that steadfast attitude will turn into a peace that stays with us.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
                                                                                  Philippians 4:7

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Immovable…

Many people have called me stubborn over the years and I’m sure they didn’t mean it as a compliment. 😉 While being stubborn about silly things that don’t matter is not the right way to be, stubbornness in Godly things is always good. The Apostle Paul is calling on us to not be wishy washy, but instead to stand our ground and keep the faith when it really does matter. We know that God does not change, His ways are always the same. Likewise, we are to be, stubborn, single-minded and immovable in the ways of Christ.

God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.
                                                              Psalm 46:5

Always abounding…

As I read this verse, the catchphrase, “under promise and over deliver comes to mind”. It’s about an abundance of love for our fellow man that flows out of us and covers them with the love of Christ. And it’s about going that extra mile even when we’re tired and exhausted because we want them to understand exactly who Jesus is and what He means in their life.

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
                                                                                   Hebrews 13:16

Work of the Lord…

The work of the Lord is wide and varied. It can mean different things to each one of us. So the question becomes, what has God asked of you specifically? At home? At work? At church? And in any other area of your life? If you are unsure of God’s plan for you, simply ask Him. He will tell you. Then when you have the answer, you can put it into practice in a way that is pleasing to Him.

equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.
                                                                                   Hebrews 13:21

Not in vain…

Whatever we do for the kingdom of God, it will not be in vain. God has promised to reward us for our efforts. That reward may come in this life, and wouldn’t that be great? But if not in this life, our reward will definitely be waiting for us in the next.

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
                                                                                  Revelation 22:12

When we labor for the Lord we lose nothing and gain everything. He has promised to equip us with what we need for the work He has given us. And He has promised to repay us a hundredfold for our sacrifice. So, my dear friend and fellow laborer, my prayer for you today is that you will not lose heart when fatigue sets in and that God will energize you for the work ahead. May God bless you and give you rest!

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