ODJ: rejoice!

December 13, 2014 

READ: Habakkuk 3:17-19 

Though the fig trees have no blossoms . . . I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! (vv.17-18).

The UK foot and mouth disease epidemic in 2001 wrought more destruction to the British farming community than any event in history. Some believers prayed that Christian farmers would be miraculously protected, while others prayed that their witness for Jesus would be strong, no matter what happened.

My friend’s sheep and dairy herd had to be destroyed within a month of that prayer. His elderly father phoned an old friend, who had also lost his herd, to sympathise with him. The friend was literally standing among the carcasses of his herd of pedigree bulls. This was a herd that had been started by his grandfather, perfected by his father and continued by him in the hope that his eldest son would inherit the well respected, carefully nurtured bloodlines when he retired.

But now, as he surveyed his dead beasts, his dreams were shattered and he was facing an uncertain future. But that’s when my friend’s father quoted Habakkuk 3:17-19, and both old men wept.

They cried, but they also rejoiced in the God of their salvation (v.18). And God was glorified as others in the community saw them press on with joy. As John wrote, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5).

Going through desperate trials with God makes a saint truly shine. A few months later during a Sunday service, I asked the farmer who had quoted Habakkuk, “When you recited those lines, and when you saw your livestock lying dead all around you, where was God?”

He looked at me and said with tears in his eyes, “Right there beside me; He was never closer.”

All the church wept together with him, and worshipped. You could almost hear the cheers in heaven; for I’m sure our God was well pleased. —Russell Fralick

365-day plan› 2 Timothy 1:1-18

Read Hebrews 5:8 and reflect on how Jesus learned through suffering. 
Why do we try to avoid difficulties and trials? How can our suffering reveal God and His glory to others?