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By Love Transformed, by R.T. Kendall

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Consolation When Things Don't Go Well

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines ... yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. —Habakkuk 3:17-18

The very things Habakkuk had complained about—the fig tree wasn't blossoming, no fruit, no herd in the stalls—were still not there, and yet he was rejoicing. He wasn't complaining now. What changed his mind?

There were three things that consoled him. The first was that he could see that God was what he saw: "The Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it" (Hab. 2:2, KJV). What a relief to know that God sees!

The second thing that consoled Habakkuk was the knowledge that though full intervention might not come as soon as he wanted—"Though it tarry, wait for it" (v. 3, KJV)—it would nevertheless definitely come. There was a plan; there was a time schedule. Maybe it's a little longer that you want it to be, but wait for it; it will come.

The third thing that consoled Habakkuk was the understanding that God imputes righteousness to the man or woman who lives by God's faithfulness. When we say, "God, I don't understand it. I don't know why You have let me wait this long. I don't know why You haven't stepped in sooner. But I am trusting you," we are cleansed in that moment and given rest of soul. He says, "I like it when you trust Me that way."

Are you looking for the vine to blossom before you can rejoice? Are you waiting for the raise in pay? Or for that answered prayer? Are you waiting for everything to fit in before you start praising the Lord? If that is so, then turn in your badge now and give up. As Proverbs 24:10 says, "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small" (KJV).

Like Habakkuk, you will be given grace to trace the rainbow through the rain.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

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