Saturday, July 21, 2012

Trust in circumstances or in God?

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.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:17-19, NIV)

“… There’s a great difference between happiness and joy,” writes John Ogilvie.

“Happiness is dependent on having no problems or concerns; joy is having faith in God in spite of anything.

“Habakkuk had been through a profound experience with God. He dared to question honestly what God was doing with His people and why He was allowing the growing strength of the Chaldean enemy. Then the prophet was silent. The Lord gave him the benchmark truth that the just shall live by faith in Him alone. There would be trouble ahead as God judged the apostasy of His people with an enemy invasion, but Habakkuk would trust in Him.

The prophet of faith heaps up all that will happen and in spite of it all, leaps for joy. Habakkuk shifts his faith from trust in circumstances to trust in God. It is then that he can say the Lord is his strength. His heart not only pirouettes in joy, but is also given strength in weakness, light-footed security like the deer, and elevated vision for the future.” (Lloyd John Ogilvie, Silent Strength for My Life)

Beside this passage in my Bible, I’ve written, “A joyous commitment of faith” and “a song of confident joy.”

Look back on your life. Write a story about a time trouble loomed in a messy situation while God took care of ugliness and ungodliness—a time when, like Habakkuk, you faced it, knowing you could trust God.

How did God teach you the difference between happiness and joy?

Explain how God taught you His “benchmark truth that the just shall live by faith in Him alone.”

Paraphrase Habakkuk 3:17-19 for your own story. Like Habakkuk, heap up all that could have happened. List all the reasons you—or any human—could have despaired, phrase by phrase: “Though the _____ does not  ___ and there are no _______, though the _______ fails and the _____ produce no _______, though there are no ________ and no _______.…"

Then write your own song of confident joy. Declare, “And yet, I chose to rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord was my strength; he made my feet like the feet of a deer, he enabled me to go on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NIV).

Write about trusting not in your circumstances but in God.

Write about discovering, in the words of Ogilvie, the strength God gave in the midst of your weakness, a light-footed security, and an elevated vision for the future.

Write your story. You probably can’t imagine how it will help others.

“When I read a story that changed the author’s life,” she writes, “by the time I close the covers, I’ve experienced some changes myself. I learn and grow right along with that author.”

Yes! That’s it! That’s why we write our stories! 


  1. I love the motto of this post, and as always I find your posts inspirational and a confirmation of the direction I'm trying to take my writing. I was so gratified when a close friend wrote about a recent post on my blog: "The whole article about the lawsuits was funny and entertaining yet thought provoking……. You know, some of your seemingly light articles are deceptively deep. I think it is a clever plot to inform us folk……"
    I think I'll tell her that she's absolutely right, because as my friend Linda says, "Yes! That's why we write our stories!"

    1. Hi, Cathy, I always enjoy hearing from you, and your comment contains gems. Yes, humor is good but at the same time, we want our stories to be thought provoking. We want them to be deep. That's where the value comes in. Good for you and for your friend's recent observations, and many thanks for sharing them here. You've given me some good ideas.


  2. Linda, your posts always stir me to keep writing, to keep working and improving in order to draw out the real story for His purpose.

    My troubled-time-messy-situation-stories -- the ones where God took care of ugliness and ungodliness -- struggle to emerge. I dance around the principle truths God showed me in those times when I write about more comfortable topics while the real nugget remains buried in the sock drawer phase under the safety of those necessary revisions.
    Hmmm... as always, you've given me quite a bit to consider this morning.

    1. Hi, De, bless you as you process those rough drafts you've stuck in your sock drawer. Oh, I know the feeling, I know the reality of those hard-to-face topics: I have several rough drafts in the sock drawer, too, while I work on what you call "more comfortable topics." Keep working on them! Even if you're thinking about them, pondering them, you are at work on them. One day you'll want to get them out and work a little more.

      Bless you, De, and thanks for stopping by.


  3. The Habakkuk passage is one of my favorite scriptures. Thank you for your thoughtful exposition and application, in encouraging us to write our stories.

    1. Olive Tree, I am always so happy to hear from you. Your blog postsd are so meaningful, so inspirational. I always look forward to reading them. Thank you for the ways you use your writing to bless so many. :)