by the Night Writer
We’ve just gone through the Thanksgiving holiday and we’re heading fast for Christmas. It’s an easy time of year to be thankful and to think of the blessings we’ve received, especially from God. But what if your life doesn’t look or feel that blessed at the moment? Do your present circumstances define the quality of your relationship with God?
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither [shall] fruit [be] in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and [there shall be] no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
— Habakuk 3:17-1
We started looking at this scripture in church a couple of months ago, and one of the things our pastor pointed out that the words “I will joy” in that verse mean are a translation of the Hebrew words that mean “to go in a circle; to dance, to leap for joy, to rejoice, exult, be glad, to tremble.” He asked us to picture what that would be like, to be so strong in your faith and trust in God that no matter what the present circumstances looked like you could not just be happy, but excited, twirling around, exulting that the Lord is your God. Then he exhorted us to actually do that, to find the time in our prayers, meditations or worship, to realize His faithfulness and mercy and get up, spin around and rejoice — perhaps in the way you’d react when your favorite team does something good.
That was a simple enough sounding challenge, but hard to do without feeling self-conscious whether you were in public or alone. Nevertheless it was a challenge my wife heeded, first in her own personal worship at home and later when she felt led to do it in the privacy of the restroom at her work, even though business had been dreadfully slow at her job for months and even though the division where I work had been put on the market for divestiture; the types of things that can cause one to have some concerns about the immediate future. So then what happened?
Well, it so “happened” that in the time that she began doing that new business started to come into her company and my division was sold — but to a company that wanted to keep us operating intact; not only does no one lose a job, but new growth opportunties are also on the horizon. Oh, and she discovered an opportunity through our on-line bank to re-finance our already low, fixed mortgage at a lower fixed rate that pays off the remaining balance in seven years instead of nine, saving us some $40,000 in interest payments. Woot! I mean, *circle dance*!
Now, I’m not saying that jumping joyfully in a circle is the secret to financial relief or increase; we need to be wary of the human ability to take a small part of a scripture and turn it into a doctrine. I will say, however, that it can deepen your awareness of the relationship you have with God through Jesus Christ (you may hear that name between now and the end of the year). Reading and meditating the word and the promises of God, then actively celebrating its reality in your life, is like a catalyst to even greater joy and appreciation of that relationship. The power and the change in your life doesn’t come from saying just the right words or doing just the right dance; it comes from the relationship and from appreciating that relationship. And as you do that, words and dances may just start to come to you…and perhaps something else as well.