17 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, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. 

–Habakkuk 3:17-19, ESV

Many times, I have to be told something more than once for me to understand and respond.  This happened to me just this past week.  The group of fellow missionaries from Wycliffe that we trained with in Orlando created a Facebook group to encourage one another.  One of the women in this group posted the encouraging verses above, that one of her partners sent to her.  And to be honest (sorry Sarah) I read it and thought “what a great verse” but I didn’t think much about it or meditate on it.  I just read it and went on about my day. 

However, yesterday as I was doing my quiet time, I was working through a book titled, The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin, and the chapter I was reading focused on difficult situations and how they affect our lives.  This idea is nothing new to me; I know that God allows trials in my life to develop steadfastness, which leads to full maturity in Christ. (James 1:3-4, ESV)  And it was in that moment the Lord brought Habakkuk 3:17-19 to me once again.

It was at that moment I stopped and said “Okay Lord, you are obviously trying to tell me something.   What is it?” I begin to think of Job, and all that he went through, sores, family dying, and many other things, yet he still praised the Lord.  Habakkuk did not have an easy life, yet like Job, he continued to praise the Lord as evidenced by these verses. I know that my situation may not be as difficult as some,   but my life has difficulties all the same.  

I am in a completely new phase of life right now.  I am no longer working a 9-5 job; both Matthew and I are fully focused on raising a partnership team. At times, our ministry seems just like this verse, we go through lulls where we don’t see much growth.  Right now is one of those times for me, I haven’t been able to make any contacts, and honestly the work just seems monotonous at times.   Through all this I don’t praise the Lord because the lack of growth in our ministry, but because HE is my strength and HE is doing a great thing in my life.  My strength is not in my ministry, or the things I do for my ministry, although those are important, my strength is in God, and that is why and how I continue to praise Him even in the hard times.

~Rachel Woods

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