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.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places.
This is what I cling to and what I stand upon. That no matter how insane and scary it gets outside of myself or inside my own head, I have chosen to rejoice in the LORD in the midst of it. I'm tired of acting out of fear and letting fear control me. My only other option is to put my trust in how God taught us how to fight back from His Words and stories in the Bible.
There is something spectacularly ridiculous feeling about "rejoicing in the Lord," praising God, when what you feel like doing is hiding in a corner hoping for death to end your misery and fear. But in a crazy wonderful way it makes sense. When Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20) prayed to God to come through for him when three armies were marching toward his kingdom, God told him He would fight his battles for him, so Jehoshaphat created the first marching band and went to watch the game unfold. He came at his fear with praise to God and God fought his battle for him. Then there's Paul and Silas whipped, arrested, and chained in prison, and they decide to start singing praise songs to God! And again, God came through miraculously and completely changed the circumstances!
I've been reading these stories along with all the verses in the New Testament calling God's people to praise God, especially when you don't feel like it or when you don't think you have any reason to. And that is when God seems to really move in big ways.
And I think it's because, first: that's what we were created to do. God created us for His glory. And the more I learn about worshiping and praising God, more I am realizing how powerful it is. It is a weapon that God created for us to use! And secondly: praising God when it's the last thing you feel like doing keeps you from falling out of alignment. It keeps your focus on God and you out of the way so that God can come through for you, instead of you focusing on your problems and trying to fix them by yourself.
When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I also accepted Him as Lord. And a lord is responsible for his subjects. So I am determined to lift my eyes to Him, to run to Him every time I feel the deceiver trying to get at me. And I am learning that when I run to Him with thanksgiving and praise, power is released! To me, this is what submitting to God and resisting the Devil is all about.
I want to experience life like Paul and Jehoshaphat did. I want to see God move like that for me and my family.
But even if I don't feel or see any change, and things just continue to go from bad to worse; I have made my decision. I am just going to praise God more, like Habakkuk. Because I know two things very well: the alternative is to despair and there is nothing for me in that, and when I look back at my life so far all I see are Ebenezer moments of how God has already come through for me beyond my expectations.
So Praise GOD for He is GOOD!