Summary: Life is messy. PRAISE THE LORD!
I want to spend a little bit of time talking about just a small piece of Habakkuk 3 this morning. Let me reread verses 16-18 before we go any further:
16 I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
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.
Habakkuk describes some really serious life problems in these verses, but I have a hard time relating to them on a personal level. I’m not facing an invading army. I don’t have any fig trees or grapes, and, unless you count my teenagers who sometimes eat like horses, I don’t have any livestock either. When I read a passage like this one, I sometimes miss the real message because the examples are so foreign to me. I wonder if any of you have the same problem.
I thought, maybe, it might be helpful to take a look at this passage from a modern-day point of view. So I’ve rewritten it the way I think Habakkuk might have written it if he were alive today.
When you are sick or injured and your body or mind is broken, praise the lord anyway.
When you’ve done something wrong, committed a crime, or harmed another person and are ashamed, praise the lord anyway.
When you’ve sent your resume to 1000 companies and you still can’t find a job, praise the lord anyway.
When your car breaks down on some remote road in the national park, and you don’t have cell phone service, and you’re alone, and you don’t have any idea how to fix it, praise the lord anyway.
When you try and try and still don’t measure up to the world’s standards, praise the lord anyway.
When things have gone horribly, horribly wrong, and you’re terrified of what’s going to happen next, praise the lord anyway.
When you’re a slave to drugs, alcohol, pornography, or any other unhealthy activity and you can’t seem to break the cycle, praise the lord anyway.
When you’re running in 20 different directions and you can’t seem to find the time to clean the house, or mow the lawn, or fix that dripping faucet, or mend those ripped jeans, praise the lord anyway.
When someone you love dies and you can’t imagine life without them, praise the lord anyway.
When the bills are piling up, and the foreclosure notice is in the mail, and you don’t know how you’re going to dig out of this hole, praise the lord anyway.
When your marriage falls apart, praise the lord anyway.
When you’re so depressed you can’t stop crying and it takes every bit of energy you have to get out of bed in the morning, praise the lord anyway
When you’re being picked on, bullied, or shunned by your peers or classmates, or even by your own family, and you feel like you don’t have a friend in the world, praise the lord anyway.
When you lose everything you own to fire or flood or some other disaster, praise the lord anyway.
When your family life is full of arguing, misunderstandings, silent treatments, and disappointment, and you know you might be part of the problem, but you don’t know how to fix it, praise the lord anyway.
When you’ve been beat up, robbed, or abused by strangers or people you love, praise the lord anyway.
When you’re old, and tired, and your body doesn’t work so well anymore because you’re nearing the end of your life, praise the lord anyway.
Praise the Lord anyway.
But why? Why praise the Lord when everything is going wrong? What the heck do we have to sing praises about when life is a huge mess?
Well, for starters, you should praise the Lord, no matter what’s happening in your life, because He deserves it. Habakkuk reminds us that despite the problems he’s currently facing, the Lord has done many wonderful things for him. The lord has done wonderful things for each of us, too.
Nobody’s life is without blessings. We’ve all been blessed in different ways: we might have a job, a home, a loving family, a hobby that makes us happy, heck even a good hair day. Considering the weather, I feel blessed that any of you showed up today, and I hope you will feel blessed in some way for showing up! God is always doing something wonderful – big or small – there’s always a blessing to be thankful for.