ODJ: What Matters

April 4, 2018 

READ: Habakkuk 1:2-5,12-17 

Always be joyful (1 Thess. 5:16).

A warm breeze and the sweet smell of summer surrounded me as I stood near a pond. Birds chirping, shade trees, calm water—the peace of nature didn’t match the confusion inside of me.

Life doesn’t always make sense, but the apostle Paul encourages us to “always be joyful” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

This idea is repeated throughout the Bible. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). When this instruction is stated, it often involves someone rejoicing because of something, for example, “Then I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad because he rescues me” (Psalm 35:9).

But in Scripture, not everyone has a specific reason to rejoice. Habakkuk questioned God as to why He was allowing the unjust to go unpunished and His people to be oppressed by an enemy (Habakkuk 1:2-4,12-17). The prophet didn’t get the answers he was expecting when God said, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day” (v.5).

It took a while for Habakkuk to accept this answer, but when he did, he rejoiced. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (3:17-18).

As I walked around the pond, I rejoiced in God and His beauty because I could find a joy deeper than the things I didn’t understand. He was with me, and I could feel His love surround me.

God has a plan for all of us. We can trust and rejoice in Him because of who He is and what He will do!

—Julie Schwab

365-day plan: 2 Samuel 9:1-13

Read Habakkuk 2:3 and consider God’s promise in Habakkuk’s waiting. 
What do you typically do when life doesn’t seem to make sense? How can you learn to rest and rejoice in God and His plans for you?