Disney’s Pollyanna movie incorporated the idea that “happy verses” were much more important than judgment, fire, and brimstone. In the movie, the town’s pastor had the habit of preaching on judgment every Sunday and making life miserable for all the town folk. When Pollyanna convinced the pastor that there were many “happy verses” in the Bible, he finally changed his tune and promised to change his preaching in the future. In the context of the movie, this idea may have worked, but God doesn’t always have a happy message for people.
My morning Bible reading included the Old Testament prophecy of Habakkuk. Anyone who knows me just a little bit, knows that this book has made a huge impact on the way that I look at life. The theme “God knows what is best and is doing what is best” has helped me to weather a number of storms. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and you will see that we can have joy amidst the pain of whatever God allows to affect our lives. But another verse caught my attention today. The preceding verse shows the difficulty the prophet faced as he waited for God’s judgment to begin.
Habakkuk 3:16 (NASB)
I heard and my inward parts trembled,
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise who will invade us.
Do you get what the prophet was feeling at the time? All thoughts about the wicked people around him were now gone. Now he knew that God was going to bring a terrible judgment against his community … and there was nothing he could do about it but wait. Let that sink in for a while. What would it be like if you knew someone was going to rob your home and kill your family … and there was nothing you could do but wait for it to happen? This is what Habakkuk the prophet faced.
As Christians, we don’t always have the privilege of quoting “happy verses” and putting a smile on our face to get out of difficult situations. Sometimes, we must go through the pain. But let’s not forget that even though there are times of pain, God still is with us through the difficulties. He is there to give us peace amidst the storm. We may feel a lot of pain and may not understand all that God is doing, but we still can have an inner joy and peace based on the character of the God in whom we trust. Remember that today.
New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation