What if?

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,yet I will rejoice in the Lord;I will take joy in the God of my salvation Habakkuk 3:17-18

Joy. Not just any joy but joy that will sustain us when times are hard.

We spend a lot of time speculating “what if”.  “What if” I lose my job or “what if” that test result shows cancer. “What if” my children rebel or “what if” I never get to be a wife or a mom. “What if” my friendships betray me or the car repairs are more than I have in the bank or my marriage dissolves. What will I do if this happens or that? And we can spiral down into despair over these imaginings if we are not careful.

Most of the time, our speculations never materialize beyond our imagination. And we do well to remember to “think only” on truth, not speculations!

But what about those times when the worst possible thing does happen?
 What about when the diagnosis is bad, the loss comes, the dreaded fear becomes reality? What then?

The prophet Habakkuk covers that for us. He says even in times of great loss – no food,no source of sweet pleasure, not even any potential for income – it is possible to have joy. Habakkuk reminds us that our welfare – even our very existence – is not dependent on fig trees or olives or livestock. Nor paychecks or relationships or elected officials. Our existence – our joy – our security is found in the self-existent I AM.

Knowing Him and His glory is the source of our joy and security. Even if all the circumstances of our lives should turn out to be the worst we could imagine, there is still cause  for joy because God is in control and His purposes are love. He cares for us in our heartbreaks and He provides hope for us in our despair. Knowing Him – in the midst of suffering and disappointment – will sustain us. Knowing that He is faithful and worthy of our trust produces joy. Contentment. Satisfaction.

Even in the midst of great pain and loss.

When we resolve to rejoice in the God of our salvation even in – especially in – the midst of great fear and  sad valleys, then we will find great strength. Great joy.We will be able to say with the prophet Habakkuk – And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet and makes me walk on high places.