"Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheep-less and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!" (Habakkuk 3:17-19 MSG)
What a wonderful world it would be; one where the cherry trees blossom, the strawberries ripen, the apples stay free from worms and the harvest of wheat be bounteous.
Genesis 1:31 says, "God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!" implying that God created a perfect world for us to live in. Yet we let sin in and now live in a fallen world with worms in our apples.
It seems apt or appropriate for us to strive to reach a perfect place like that where everything goes our way. Follow every "yellow brick road" to get there, and on our arrival surely we would burst out into songs of joyful praise and start turning cartwheels of joy to God.
Yet we always seem to wait to get to a particular point in life before we do what we should already be doing. Does it really matter if I can smile only if everything is going the way I’d like it to? Does it count if I sing songs of praise to God because my life is practically perfect in every way? Must I wait to get out of a hard situation before I find joy and can worship God? The way I see it, if I won't right now, I probably never will.
How precious would a single smile be if it came when I'm having a bad day? How priceless would a love-song to God be when only He knows how my heart is struggling today!
Worship that really tugs on God's heart is worship that arises irrespective of how the situations we are facing are and rather on who God is. Worship that isn't based on how happy we feel, but is based on the knowing that whatever comes our way, our God is in control. It says in the passage above, we can take heart and gain strength counting on God's rule to prevail. It's a perk of having a sovereign God. He's in control of every situation we're in. He is working on it. His shoulders are big enough to carry all our troubles. He knows how it's all going to play out.
I'm challenged, through this season, to find joy in Jesus Christ. Not from the world I'm living in, with so many troubles and worms in my apples. This world that thrives on, and is ruled by, emotions. But my Bible says, "The joy of The LORD is our strength." (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV)
His joy that He shares with me when I read, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)
The Creator of the Universe is working everything out, for me! And that's what makes joy a constant in my life. I could be happy one day and possibly the opposite on another, but I will rest on his assurance He gives me when He says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG)
Now, until we get to heaven and all its perfection that God has prepared for us; where there will be no suffering, no crying and no pain, nothing can take His joy from us. Not even the slimy worm in my shiny, red apple!
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18 NIV)
Photo Credit: Jenny Martin