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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: a taste from chapter 36

Even When It’s Bleak

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 in God my Savior.
—Habakkuk 3:17–18

I tell my children that life is tough. It isn’t easy being human. I’m not trying to take away their hope. Rather, I want them to know that troubles will come their way; and instead of shunning those troubles, they need to look up to God for help. Life and troubles go together. It took me a long to realize this. I think the desire to believe that I would be spared from sorrows stunted my early spiritual growth.

Jesus warned us, In this world you will have trouble(John 16:33). The fig tree will often be bare. But each time, hopefully, our trust in God deepens. We look back and see how He provided even when we were ready to call it quits.

I pondered the reason that we rejoice even when the fig tree doesn’t bud and realized that being joyful in God serves a wonderful purpose. If we can focus on God, this takes our mind off of the circumstances that plague us. If we can keep our eyes on a God who changes not, who is constant even though our lives are whirlwinds of change, we are acting on the knowledge that we serve Someone worthy of praise. We let praise overtake our burden. Praise gets the front row seat. Our heavy turmoil gets seated in the back of the auditorium. Time and time again, God asks us to look to Him as our refugee, to focus on His goodness in spite of our sorrow. Something about trusting in the midst of bleakness works to reiterate the worthiness of God to be praised. Even when things aren’t as we want them to be. Even when the day is dark. Regardless.

While Jesus said in John 16:33 that we will have trouble, He also left us with a promise in that same verse: But take heart! I have overcome the world. Our problems won’t go with us into our new life in Heaven. But God will.

I challenge you to get to know God better than you know your troubles. Push aside all the jargon you might have grown up with—“christianese”—certain phrases you’ve repeated that you aren’t even sure how to explain to a nonbeliever. Read the Bible, perhaps pondering on one passage over and over so that you can fully grasp its meaning for you. Discover ways to express both God and faith in your own words.

Reflections to Ponder
Can we trust that God is moving even when all seems impossible? When we have nothing to hang onto but God, when everything else seems at a loss, a mural of confusion, can we know that God is for us?

Lord, I want to persevere. I want to be persistent as I serve You—believing that You are for me, that Your love for me is great, and that Your mercy and grace exceeds my expectations.

When You Walk
When there are days you don’t feel like going on your daily walk, how do you motivate yourself? If someone asked you what to do to become motivated, what advice would you give?

~ from Getting Out of Bed in the Morning by Alice J. Wisler
copyright 2012
Leafwood Publishers

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Judy said...

Some times life beats you down so bad it is hard to get motivated. I find that putting on a Christmas CD and singing at the top of my lungs puts me in a fantastic mood! You wouldn't believe how energized you feel! This is done throughout the year. Who says Christmas music is just for the Christmas season?! Try it some time!


alice wisler said...

Sounds like a plan, Judy. I believe music helps a lot, too, and mention that in my devotional. There are many chapters with singing included.

Sandra Stiles said...

I believe God puts messages in our path. I needed this message today as our family is going through a large situation right now. I need to focus more on the blessings God has given us and less on the current situation so that he can work it out.

alice wisler said...

Sandra, thanks for your comment. Glad this post helped you.