This past Sunday, we finished up the final message called, “Even If” in the series, “When God doesn’t.” This series has really been about how we handle tough seasons. Each week has walked us down the pathway of getting real with God, which isn’t always easy. Coming face to face with the fact that life really is hard and we are not always guaranteed a sweet outcome. However, we are guaranteed that God will be with us through it all.
So what do we do after we’ve laid our souls bare to the Lord? What do we do while we are waiting? What do we do while the answers to our prayers aren’t the ones we hoped for? Pastor Chad shared with us a funny little word: Shigionoth We find this odd-sounding word in the 3rd chapter of Habakkuk. It means high-spirited praise. Shigionoth is a word that signifies a tone shift. It indicates a change from what has been happening, like in a song, to help us understand the kind of direction and message this sound is supposed to take.
- Remember: Sometimes we get swallowed up by the pain, sorrow, and heartache of life that we forget who God is. Habakkuk does something that we might think is a bit odd for being in such hard circumstances. He praises God with impassioned, heartfelt praise. He redirects his whole being to focus on what is good! He praises God for who He is! Sometimes we only praise God for what He can do. Instead of praising God for who He is, our true hope. So when all the world seems to be falling apart. Choose to remember and rejoice in the Lord and keep singing His praises. He has been good and He will do it again.
- Don’t Endure, Embrace: We forget that learning to suffer well matters. Life won’t always give us the outcomes we want but we can always learn to embrace life as it comes. How do we do that? In this scripture of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, it says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I believe this scripture gives a mini prescription to help us to embrace. Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks!
- Shift Question Marks to Exclamation Points: In Habakkuk, we don’t get to see the “It’s all good!” moments of the story. Maybe it didn’t get to “the good” in his lifetime but what we do know is that Habakkuk shifted away from questioning God to exalting Him.
Maybe it’s time for us to step away from all the questions. Maybe they’ve made us cynical or jaded. For sure the questioning keeps us on unsteady ground. I am not saying don’t question things but is it plausible to say that there are for sure things in this life that no amount of questions can ever answer. So, is it worth the worry and stress? If we could choose something different, would we? What if we could choose then to trust God, and remember who He is, and what He has done for us?
In the hardest of seasons, which I think we’ve truly been walking through, we need God’s way through. His way is praise! Perhaps you need to take some inventory of the good things, the just-in-time things, the hope-filled, and joyful things that have happened. Write down all the moments for celebration. Be the report that someone else needs to hear. Be a billboard of “Look what God has done!”
All is grace,