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Summary: Having it all or losing it all, rejoicing in any and every situation should be a natural part of a Christian’s life.

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WE HAVE QUITE A FEW UNIQUE SAYINGS IN OUR CULTURE THAT HELP US DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN A PESSIMIST AND AN OPTIMIST. SAYINGS SUCH AS “A PESSIMIST SEES THE GLASS AS HALF-EMPTY WHILE THE OPTIMIST SEES IT AS HALF FULL” OR “THE OPTIMIST IS THE ONE WHO CAN ENJOY THE SCENERY EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE TO TAKE A DETOUR.”

WHATEVER THE SAYING MAY IMPLY, I AM SURE THAT IT INDICATES THAT WHICHEVER SIDE ONE FINDS THEMSELVES ON, THEY HAVE ARRIVED THERE BY CHOICE. WE MAKE THE CHOICE TO BE EITHER PESSIMISTIC OR OPTISMISTIC.

THE SAME CAN BE SAID IN REGARDS TO JOY AND HAPPINESS. THE ONE WE ELECT TO EMBRACE IS ALSO A CHOICE. THE TWO ARE NOT IDENTICAL NOR ARE THEY DEPENDENT UPON THE SAME.

HAPPINESS IS A FEELING DEPENDENT UPON THE EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT. IF THE WEATHER IS BEAUTIFUL THEN I AM HAPPY, BUT IF IT RAINS (PARTICULARLY ON A SPECIAL OCCASION) I GET DOWN IN THE DUMPS AND GRUMPY. HOWEVER, JOY IS DIFFERENT.

JOY IS A STATE OF BEING. IT IS AN ATTRIBUTE OF WHO I AM. JOY IS THIS WAY BECAUSE IT IS AN INTERNAL PART OF WHO I AM. JOY IS AN INTERNAL STATE OF BEING BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING EXTERNAL THAT CAN DISRUPT IT OR DISCONNECT IT.

IT CAN RAIN ON MY BIRTHDAY. I CAN BE CALLED IN TO WORK ON SATURDAY. I CAN BE CUT OFF IN TRAFFIC. I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIND A BABY SITTER AND HAVE TO CANCEL MY WEEKEND PLANS. BUT, NO MATTER WHAT, I STILL HAVE JOY. I CHOOSE JOY.

JOY IS NOT A MATTER OF GOOD FORTUNE OR HAVING MASTERY OF “GOOD LUCK.” JOY IS A DECISION AND A MATTER OF WILL THAT SAYS, “I HAVE THE LORD AS MY SAVIOR AND SERVE A GOD WHO IS FAITHFUL, LOVING, FORGIVING, AND FULL OF MERCY.”

THAT IS THE KEY TO JOY. JOY IS GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. HE IS JOY. HE IS THE SOURCE OF JOY. GOD IS THE INEXHAUSTIBLE SOURCE AND INFINITE SUPPLY OF JOY. GOD IS WHERE JOY COMES FROM. SO, IN ORDER TO HAVE JOY, I MUST FIRST HAVE GOD. TO HAVE GOD, I MUST HAVE JESUS CHRIST, HIS SON. THAT IS WHY GOD IS REFERRED TO IN HABAKKUK AS “THE GOD OF MY SALVATION.”

JOY CAN ONLY COME THROUGH AN INTIMATE AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. ANY ATTEMPT TO GAIN JOY THROUGH ANY OTHER MEANS IS JUST A FUTILE ATTEMPT TO SETTLE FOR TEMPORARY HAPPINESS THAT QUICKLY DISSAPATES THE MOMENT THE NEXT DISAPPOINTMENT COMES MY WAY.

THE UNFAILING SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND CONFIDENCE NECESSARY FOR SATISFACTION AND CONTENTMENT IN ALL OF LIFE’S CIRCUMSTANCES IS THE SOVEREIGN LORD HIMSELF.

YOU CAN’T BUY IT OR MANIPULATE IT OR MANUFACTURE IT TO ALTER YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. IT MUST COME THROUGH GOD ALONE.

BECAUSE IT COMES FROM GOD, JOY IS, IN ESSENCE, GOD. THIS MEANS THAT JOY IS AN UNSHAKABLE, IMMOVABLE SOURCE OF POWER AND STRENGTH FOR THE CHRISTIAN BELIEVER.

THIS WHAT MAKES THIS PASSAGE IN HABAKKAK SO COMMANDING. THESE TWO VERSES COMBINE TO MAKE THE MOST POWERFUL STATEMENT OF FAITH EVER FOUND IN ALL THE BIBLE.

IT IS THE HIGHEST STATEMENT OF FAITH THAT BRINGS JOY FOR THE HURRICANE VICTIMS OF THE GULF COAST; FOR THOSE LOSING LOVED ONES IN IRAQ; FOR THOSE WHO LOSE THEIR JOBS AFTER WORKING OVER 20 YEARS FOR ONE COMPANY; FOR THOSE HEARING THAT DREADFUL WORD “CANCER;” FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED A MISCARRIAGE, A DIVORCE, AND EVEN FOR THOSE YET TO COME AS SOME OF OUR NEW OFFICERS FACE “FORCE SHAPING” WHEN THEY ARE ASKED TO LEAVE THE AIR FORCE.

HABAKKUK CONTAINS THOSE EMPOWERED WORDS THAT YOU CAN CLING TO WHEN NOT ONLY THE BOTTOM FALLS OUT, BUT WHEN THE ROOF CAVES IN AND THE WALLS COME CRUMBLING DOWN ALL AROUND YOU.

HABAKKUK CRIES OUT IN FAITH THAT, “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 GOD MY SAVIOR.”

HOW COULD HE SAY SUCH A THING? REJOICE? HE’S GOT TO BE KIDDING, RIGHT? HOW COULD HE? AFTER ALL, THIS PASSAGE IS WRITTEN IN A STATE OF HOPELESS TRAUMA FOR HIS HOMELAND AND HIS PEOPLE.

IT REALLY IS HARD TO FATHOM THE DEPTH OF THIS KIND OF DESPAIR BECAUSE INSTEAD OF CURSING, BLAMING GOD OR GIVING INTO DISPAIR, HABAKKUK CHOOSES TO REJOICE IN THE LORD.

FACING CAPTURE, ENSLAVEMENT, ANNIALATION OF CROPS, PERSONAL POSSESSIONS AND AN UNKNOWN FUTURE IN AN UNKNOWN LAND OF CAPTIVITY, HABAKKUK HAS JOY, EXPRESSES JOY, AND LIVES THE JOY SIMPLY BECAUSE HE PERSONALLY KNOWS THE GOD OF JOY.

EVEN THOUGH HABAKKUK IN AN INDESCRIBABLE STATE OF PERPLEXITY, HE IS STILL CAPABLE OF EXPERIENCING A HOLY JOY WHICH ENABLES HIM TO REJOICE IN THE LORD HIS GOD.

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