I have the privilege of helping with a second grade Sunday School class at my church. Some weeks I teach, some weeks I plan games, some weeks I plan a craft or other activity and then some weeks I just sit back and receive a blessing even though I did nothing...yesterday was one of those sit back and get "schooled" days. Our lesson was on Habakkuk, yeah I know, it really is a book of the Bible. It is one on of the minor prophets in the Old Testament but certainly not minor in its message.
I listened as my son read Habakkuk 3:17-18 aloud..."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."
Oh boy, let's take pause and not miss the message here. I felt like shouting after reading that one, except that's not really the kind of person I am, but I just couldn't let this one go by without a word. It's easy to praise God and trust Him and be on board with the plan when things are going good, but a different story entirely to continue to praise and trust when times are hard and things hurt.
I feel like a bit of a rewrite might be in order here, not to be disrespectful to God's Word but to put it in real life application for my family, because all of us have had or are currently having times our life when we can live this thing out! My version might go something like this...Though the answers to our prayers right now are "no" and our hearts are hurting, though we sit in the PICU with our daughter and cry out, though our strength fails us and we become exhausted and overwhelmed, yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will be joyful in God our Savior.
God's people don't just follow God when things are going good. God's people follow God because He is God and when things happen that we don't understand we trust and we have faith in the One who set the stars in the sky and told the oceans how far they could come. If He did nothing else for us He did enough by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we would not be separated from God for eternity. If He did nothing else for us He provided a way through His Son Jesus for our sins to be forgiven. If He did nothing else He saved us...but He didn't stop there. God continues to love us and bless us and take care of us and pursue a relationship with us. He continues to give and provide even though we are not entitled to a dang thing and in my arrogance and in my pride He still sees fit to love me. It's all grace...unmerited favor from God, undeserving and unearned just given from a heart of love.
Oh I will continue to praise Him when I feel like I am "stuck" at home with my girl. We will continue to rejoice when things hurt and when circumstances seem impossible. It's not all "sunshine and rainbows" over here, we hurt and this journey is painful, but the reality is we don't need a miracle to know that God loves us. The debt for sin has been paid in full if we will just accept it and that alone is worth praising God and rejoicing over. It's not all about us, it's not even all about Sophie Kate (even though she thinks it is, ha) it's all about Him! We want to ever and always point to the God of our salvation and give all glory and honor to Him!
Now that's a children's sunday school lesson that will preach...Habakkuk, who knew!