When things aren’t like we want them to be…









Habakkuk 3:17-18

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

Wow! That is quite the list!!

We may not be growing figs, grapes and olives or breeding and tending livestock, but most of us are working to grow, prosper, and increase in the ways that bring good things to life in our lives. We want to be able to have decent food, shelter, and clothing. To enjoy good relationships. To see strong results from our efforts. And we aren’t too happy when things aren’t working out like we want them to work out.

I’ve been thinking about joy. How it has NOTHING to do with circumstances. Being happy has to do with circumstances. Being joyful is an inside job. A choice. An action. A way of being.

I love how the writer declares that in all of this crisis, loss, and emptiness – in all that he sees around him, he WILL rejoice in the LORD. He WILL be joyful. Not about the circumstances. Not about the challenges. Not about the difficulties. Not about the disappointments. In spite of them. Smack dab in the middle of them. A quality decision. Purposed joy. Purposed focus on God. His goodness. His faithfulness. 

Because God is the God of this guy’s salvation. He knows it. He acknowledges it. He calls it out. His rescue. The deliverance through and from all that is going on. This guy knows a few things. He knows the character of God that never changes. He is our Deliverer. He is our Source. He is good. He loves us. And He has given His Word and confirmed it over and over and over that He is with us. Won’t leave us. And He will bring us out.

Too often, we are focused on what we see and what we feel instead of Who He is and who we are to Him.

Let’s quit making an idol of our situations and our feelings and perspectives about them. Many times it is like we are making a shrine and bowing down to them. 

Let’s raise our gaze and see above and beyond this stuff and see Him. He will get us through and He has us in His hands all the way. His Word says so.

So what are some of the ways to be one who WILL rejoice and WILL be joyful?

Nehemiah 8:10

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”

Celebrate anyway. Have a bit of a party knowing in advance that God has laid out victory for us.

Share that celebrating spirit and joy with some who are struggling and maybe don’t even know how to decide to rejoice and be joyful in the middle of hurt or disappointment. Be an example of a joy-driven life. 

Choose not to be offended and hopeless (dejected) and sad (focused on the circumstance). That leaves us weak and vulnerable. Choosing joy is choosing strength. His strength. All found and based in the LORD. No matter what.

Because God is good and He adores us!


When I read the words penned by my friend Debby Berry, I know they are rooted in the truth revealed to her through God’s Word. I am consistently encouraged to reach deeper into intimacy with my God, the One who adores me.
Lisa Troyer