Rejoice in the Lord always is more than a hymn we sing at church. For a Christian, it is a way of life.
Here’s what the Apostle Paul told us in Philippians 4…
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
This Bible verse seems so simple. Just rejoice in the Lord no matter what.
But when life takes a turn for the worst, it isn’t so simple anymore.
That’s something the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk knew a thing or two about.
It’s through the story of Habakkuk that we learn how to rejoice in the Lord always, even in the face of adversity.
Habakkuk saw trouble coming a mile away in the form of the Chaldean army. And he knew his people were about to face some seriously hard times.
The basic necessities they needed to survive would become scarce. The food and water they relied on to sustain them would dry up and blow away. Fear and desperation would set in.
But Habakkuk also had confidence that if they put their trust in God, He would see them through.
Recently, I was going through a difficult time too. Maybe it wasn’t as dramatic as an invasion of the Chaldeans like the people of Habakkuk’s day, but it was a crisis in my little world nonetheless.
I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. And it was crushing me.
One day, my to-do list was getting longer instead of shorter. I was stressed and overwhelmed by everything I had to accomplish.
Then, a dear friend sent me what seemed to be a random text. In it, she asked me to read Habakkuk 3.
I immediately sent her a text back and said “OK”, with a smiley face emoji. 😊
But I had no intention of reading it, at least not right then. Maybe later when everything else was done. I was in the middle of a project, and I needed to get it finished.
However, God saw things a little differently. He pulled on my heartstrings and gently whispered, “You need to read it”.
I answered, “Okay, I’ll read it later tonight when things calm down”.
But God whispered to my heart again, “You need to read it now”.
I sighed as I resigned myself to God’s plan for the day, grabbed my Bible, and started to read…
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.
Wow! I felt like I’d been struck by lightning!
All these years later, Habakkuk can still cut straight to the point.
It’s easy to praise God and find joy in our salvation when things are going great. And it’s so much harder when life isn’t going our way.
But no matter what situation we’re in, we can still find a reason to rejoice in the Lord.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 reads like a laundry list of terrible circumstances. Each item on the list represents something essential to daily life back then. And their absence would create an immediate emergency.
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…
Alone, each of these things would be a disaster for Habakkuk and his people. But combined they are a catastrophe of epic proportions.
No fruit on the vine, no crops to harvest, no sheep on the mountain, and no cows in the stalls all mean one thing… starvation, pure and simple.
In our modern world, it’s hard to see how this affects us. But if we look closer and compare these crises to the things we value today, we’ll understand exactly how dire the situation truly was.
Recent events have forced us to deal with exactly the same things our Biblical counterparts did, just with a modern twist.
Coronavirus gave us more than an unknown disease to contend with. Supply chains were disrupted, there was no toilet paper on the shelves, meat shortages became the norm, and people were laid off of work for extended periods of time.
Complete chaos and hopelessness followed.
I imagine this is how Judah felt too. They were no different from us. They wanted to work and take care of their families the same way we do today. The devastation of watching their hard work turn to dust must have left them reeling.
And it leads us to wonder…
How long would we last without our state-of-the-art water plants producing freshwater each day?
What if farmers and ranchers suffered great losses year after year? How would we survive without the food they bring to market?
And if we lost our jobs for good, how long would it take for the money to run out and desperation to set in?
This is where the rubber meets the road.
And just when we think all hope is lost, in Habakkuk 3:19, we see the answer to all of life’s problems…
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
It’s true, we will always have troubles in this life. There will always be another crisis to tackle. Or another earth-scattering decision to make.
But even if the whole world falls apart right before our eyes, we can still say, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, just like Habakkuk did.
Because God has promised those of us who believe in His Son, Jesus, we will never face adversity alone. He is always with us. And His joy remains in us no matter what comes our way.
Jesus is the One who gives us the strength to get through the most difficult of times. And because of the joy of our salvation, we are never defeated.
So, if Habakkuk could rejoice always under such dire circumstances, then surely, we can too.
This is my updated, modern-day prayer to trust God and praise Him in every circumstance, good or bad using Habakkuk as an example.
I hope you’ll pray it along with me as we rejoice in the Lord always together…
Even though my house is filthy, company is coming over, and there’s not enough time to clean…
I will praise the Lord!
Even though the bills are piling up, and it seems there will never be enough money to pay them all…
I will rejoice in the Lord!
Even though my health is failing, and I feel weak…
I will joy in the God of my salvation!
Even though I’ve lost a loved one and my heart is broken…
I will rejoice in the Lord always!
There’s no way my friend could’ve known what was going on in my life that day, or how much I needed these words of Habakkuk 3:17-19 spoken into my heart. But I’m so grateful she followed God’s lead and sent that seemly random text.
Thankfully, to God, nothing is ever random. He knew exactly what was happening in my life. And He used this scripture to take away the stress and overwhelm weighing down my soul.
And He replaced them with a song in my heart and praise on my lips.
God is good! And He is worthy of our praise in every circumstance!
Because the truth is… it’s our choice to rejoice.
Knowing that I pray this seemingly simple Bible verse from Habakkuk 3 has shown you how to rejoice in the Lord always! And that you will trust Him in both the good and bad times to come!
Please leave a comment below and let me know your own modern-day prayer of trust and praise.
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