I’m Trusting You Anyway, Lord!
God Questions: An Exposition of Habakkuk

Gary Combs ·
March 3, 2024 · exposition · Habakkuk 3:16-19 · Notes


What are you facing today? It seems easy to keep the faith when life is good, when all your prayers are being answered, and everything is coming up roses. But how do we keep trusting God when life gets hard? When our prayers seem to go unanswered? When our worst fears seem to be coming true? How can we keep trusting the Lord anyway?

In Habakkuk 3:16-19, after hearing the Lord’s plan to use Babylon to discipline Judah, the prophet concluded his little book of lament with a strong resolve to trust the Lord anyway. We can resolve to trust the Lord anyway.


Below is an automated transcript of this message

It’s great seeing all of you here this morning. We’re concluding our journey through the book of Habakkuk today. We’ve been in a five-week series through the book of Habakkuk, going verse by verse through this little book. We’ve entitled the series, “God Questions.” It may be a little book, only three chapters long, but it asks really big questions. It asks hard questions, real faith questions that we often ask as we consider and struggle from time to time with our faith in the Lord. Even though Habakkuk may have been writing around 600 BC, the words that he wrote are just as relevant today as they were when he first wrote them. We’ve gone through this little book and we’ve seen Habakkuk grow in his faith. He has struggled; he has lifted up his complaints, his concerns and even his questions to the Lord. He has asked, “Why Lord?,” “How long until you answer me?” and then, when he gets his answer , he asks, “Lord, why did You answer me like that? That’s not the answer I was hoping for.” He has felt that God was distant. He has asked, ‘Where are you Lord? I feel like my prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling. I feel You’re not present in my life right now.’

Then, there’s another time where Habakkuk is thinking about all the miracles that God has done in the past. He asked the Lord, ‘Would You do it again? Would You perform these kinds of miracles in my life today?’ These are the kinds of questions that Habakkuk’s been lifting up to the Lord. But now, we’re at the end of the journey of what really is a three-chapter lament.

A lament, for the believer, is to do this –to cry out with the real pain, the real concerns and the real questions that we have, but to do so and keep our faith at the same time. This lament, as all the laments that you read in the Bible, ends with a word of praise. That’s where we are today. We’re at that point where his cries, his questions and his concerns have turned to praise.

The key of this little book is found in Habakkuk 2:4. We’ve talked about it every week. It’s an important little verse: Habakkuk 2:4 (ESV) “… but the righteous shall live by his faith.” This is a verse that the New Testament writers pick up and use as a foundation for their books. In fact, the three most important doctrinal books in the New Testament, all quote this particular verse from Habakkuk as foundational to what they teach. Romans, Galatians and the book of Hebrews, all three of these books, quote this little verse from the book of Habakkuk, where God had revealed to him, no matter what happens, no matter what’s going on, we are to trust the Lord anyway. The righteous will walk by faith. They’ll live by faith.

As J. Vernon McGee said of Habakkuk, “This little book may have opened up in gloom, but it closes in glory. It may have begun with a question mark, but it closes with an exclamation point!” So, we’ve titled this message with an exclamation mark, “I’m trusting You anyway, Lord!” But how is it possible?

I don’t know what you’re facing today. Maybe you’re going through a time of trouble. It’s a lot easier to keep the faith when blessings abound. It’s a lot easier when “everything’s coming up roses,” to say, “I’m celebrating. I’m believing.” But when things get hard, that’s when our faith is really tested. That’s when we find out if our faith is real.

How do we keep trusting God when things are hard, when our prayers seem to go unanswered? What about when things look like our worst fears are coming to pass? That’s when we find out if we are able to trust God anyway, if our faith is the kind of real faith that sustains us during troubling times. How can we keep trusting the Lord anyway?

That’s where Habakkuk is at in his faith journey. We followed along with him as he cried out. He complained. He has wanted the Lord to answer his questions. But now, he’s at a place where the questions are at an end. He’s heard from the Lord. He’s heard how the Lord is going to answer his prayers for Judah in a surprising way, by bringing the Babylonians as His instrument of discipline to discipline His people in Judah. Habakkuk has come to a place of acceptance; this is where he is now – I’ve got no more questions. I’m going to trust You anyway.

I don’t know where you’re at today, but I believe, as we hear the word of God today from this little book of Habakkuk, that maybe you can put your questions, your complaints and your concerns aside and learn with Habakkuk in our faith journey together how to trust the Lord anyway. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today as we dig in. We will see three ways that we can resolve to trust the Lord anyway. Let’s look at it:

Habakkuk 3:16-19 (ESV) 16 “I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. 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. To the choirmaster: with stringedinstruments .” This is God’s word. Amen.

I would remind you that Habakkuk made this third chapter like a liturgy or like a song to be sung. It has several musical notations in it, like “Selah.” Then, he closes with instructions to what kind of instruments he wants to play. Habakkuk has come to a place of praise where he says basically this, ‘I invite you to come with me now to put your questions, your laments, your cries and your concerns aside. Let’s just praise the Lord anyway. Let’s just trust the Lord anyway.’ That’s where we’re at in our journey.


1. Resting on His promises when we are afraid. I want you to notice the “I” statements that we see in verse 16. In fact, we’ll see these throughout the final verses here. Habakkuk is now speaking in the first person singular here. He’s talking about how he’s going to respond to what he’s heard from the Lord. In fact, he starts off like this, “I hear.” It’s the Hebrew word, “Shema,” which is an important word in Hebrew scriptures. It goes all the way back to the prayer that they prayed three times a day – “Israel, the Lord, thy God is one God.” Shema Israel. It’s a well known word. It’s to respond to what God has said.

This is what Habakkuk seems to be saying here, ‘Since I’ve heard You, Lord, You’ve answered the questions that I’ve asked You. You’ve heard my concerns and my cries. I hear You, Lord, but I must admit to You, my knees are knocking together. I’m still afraid.’

You see, sometimes we believe, but our body still responds to the grief and trouble around us. Habakkuk says ‘I hear but my body’s trembling; my lips are quivering. My bones feel rotten and weak. My legs are trembling.’ He’s speaking of the reality of his bodily reaction to what he’s heard.

What has Habakkuk heard from the Lord? The Lord had told him, ‘I heard your prayer about how Judah is not obeying me and that you’re as a prophet of the people of Judah. You’re concerned.’ Habakkuk asked the Lord what He was going to do about it. The Lord answered him – He is going to send the Babylonians, those wicked people, to come and be the instrument of your justice. It was frightening for Habakkuk to hear what He was going to do when He brought judgment. He hears how God is going to do this. ‘I hear you Lord, but my body is shaken. Yet, I will wait quietly.’ In verse 16, Heessentially says, ‘Even though I’m shaking, even though I’m afraid, I’ve decided to rest in Your promises. Indeed, this “quietly waiting” could also be translated, “rest,” in Habakkuk.

The same verse in the New King James Version says, “ … That I might rest in the day of trouble.” This idea of “waiting quietly” means to not to be asleep, but to be at peace, to be at rest, to be quiet. Habakkuk hasn’t been quiet for three chapters. He’s been loud. He’s been crying out to the Lord. He’s had questions; he’s had complaints. God wasn’t afraid of his questions. He’s cried them out to the Lord and the Lord has answered him. Habakkuk has heard the answer; it’s causing him to tremble with fear, but he’s made a determination. He’s resolved in his heart – I’m going to trust in Your promises anyway. Even though it scares me, what You’ve told me about what the future holds for me . I recognize that You, also, said that You’re going to take care of Babylon because that was all of it. He is going to bring Babylon to judge Judah, but it will be brief. Indeed, it was only 70 years that they were in exile. Then, I’m going to judge Babylon.

Habakkuk said, “Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.” The Babylonians are those who will invade them. He recognizes that God is going to use them to discipline us. Habakkuk, also, recognizes that God is going to handle them, so he’s, by faith, believing God’s promise. He’s saying ‘I’m going to rest in Your promise even though I see trouble around me, even though the news isn’t good. I’m gonna rest in Your promises, Lord. That’s his decision today.

We can see this in Psalm 37: 7; perhaps, Habakkuk was even thinking of this Psalm as he wrote: Psalm 37:7 (NKJV) “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him ; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.” This is the Lord. Rest in Him. Wait patiently and don’t fret. Don’t worry about him who prospers in his way. So you might see, it looks like the Babylonians are prospering. It looks like they’re coming in. Why is the Lord allowing this unfairness? The Psalmist says to us, ‘Don’t worry about that. Rest in His promises. Don’t be concerned, don’t worry.

Psalm 56:4 (NLT) “I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” To decide, to make this decision, that seems to be exactly what Habakkuk is saying. He says, “I will quietly wait.” This is a predetermined goal when trouble comes. I’ve decided in advance, I’m going to rest in the Lord. I’m going to wait quietly on the Lord. Even before it comes, I’ve already decided by faith that I’m going to trust His promises. This is a place of maturing faith where it’s no longer just putting out fires and just responding to that which is immediate, but it looks into the future and decides how it’s going to respond. Before something happens, I’ve resolved in myself, by faith, that I’m gonna rest in the Lord anyway. That’s what Habakkuk has decided.

There’s a well known story in the book of Mark, chapter four, of a storm that came upon a boat full of disciples and their master Jesus. Jesus was tired from ministry. He’d asked the disciples to push out. He loved to be out on the water. They moved out onto the water. Jesus was so tired that he took a cushion and lay his head down in the stern of the boat and went fast to sleep. The Bible says, a sudden storm came up. The Greek seems to imply it had almost a demonic power to it. It came out of nowhere. It’s true that the Sea of Galilee lies in kind of a funnel with the Golan Heights up above it. Sometimes storms would just crash into the Sea of Galilee. So, a sudden storm came up and the boat was so swamped that water started to flow into the boat. Professional fishermen, Peter, James, John and Andrew grew up on the sea of Galilee but they were afraid. The Bible says that they were so afraid they asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t You care that we’re about to perish?”

Have you ever asked the Lord that? Have you ever asked the Lord, ‘Don’t You care? Look at me, Lord. I’m about to die down here.’

Jesus was asleep in the boat and they shook Him awake and He raised up and says, “Peace be still.” Just like that, the storm ceased. The blue sky emerged and the water became like glass. The disciples, who were afraid of the storm on the outside of the boat, now we’re afraid of the man on the inside of the boat. They said, “Who is this man that even the winds and the waves obey Him?”

See, we can rest in His promises. We can rest in the Lord. Have you tested His promises? Have you experienced His grace, His mercy and His promises that allow you to be at peace even when a storm seems to rage all around you?

I remember when we first were thinking about planting a church. It was about a year before I decided to quit my job and to go to seminary in Wake Forest. The seminary from my house was about a 45 minute drive. I went through a season where my finances didn’t work out the way that I planned. Have you ever had a season where your finances didn’t work out the way that you planned ? Have you ever had a season like that? Some of the money I’d put aside or some of the plans I had didn’t work out. We went 14 months with no income and I depleted my savings. This is before we planted the church. I knew the Lord had called me. I was confident, or at least I thought I was confident that He had called me. I would get into my little Subaru to go to seminary and the fuel tank would be set. I didn’t have a penny and I’d drive 45 minutes over to Wake Forest and go to seminary and get back in it on E and drive home. I don’t know what my car was running on, but I made that trip more than once.

Now, you might say, ‘Well, that’s crazy.’ I know; I was trembling. My lips were trembling and my legs were shaking. I would do “fancy stuff,” like leaving my car in neutral. I would get it up to speed, put it in neutral, let it coast downhill. I was doing everything I could. I remember one day I was praying, ‘Lord, I feel like I’m testing You too hard.’ That day, I went out to my car and there was an envelope under the windshield wiper with a $20 bill in there. I jumped up and down. People would have thought that I was crazy, on the side of the road jumping up and down, holding that $20 bill. I got to go home without being on empty another time.

I remember I went to my locker at the school; it was a metal locker with vents at the top. Somebody had stuck an envelope in the vent. I opened it up and it was a $50 Kroger gift card. I went home, pulled up in the driveway and said to Robin, “We’re going to Kroger.” She says to me, “We don’t have a Kroger in Wilson.” I said to her, “Well, let’s find the nearest one.” In those days, we found out that there was one in Greenville. So we loaded the whole family up in the Subaru and went and got groceries in Greenville.

You might think that these are silly little stories, small little stories. But, I tell you, they get sweet when you realize that God has promised, as David said, Psalm 37:25 (ESV) “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” We never ran out of food; I don’t know how we did it. My grown kids say to me, “Dad, we thought we were rich. We didn’t know that we needed anything.” Well, we didn’t tell them. We just prayed and kept on acting in faith. We were scared to death sometimes, but yet, we decided in advance, “I’m going to wait for You ; Lord, I’m gonna trust You. I’m going to follow You in spite of these difficult circumstances.” We’re no heroes. Jesus is our hero. We trusted Him.

What a transformation has taken place in Habakkuk. Do you see it? He has moved from ‘How long and where are You, Lord?’ to ‘I’m going to praise You anyway, Lord. I’m going to wait on You. I’m going to trust. I’m going to rest on Your promises anyway.’ That’s where Habakkuk is. Where are you at; have you made that decision yet?


2. Rejoicing in His salvation when we face life’s trials.

We’re in verses 17 and 18 now; we’re “unpacking” it one verse at a time. We’re learning from Habakkuk and how he’s grown in the Lord, rejoicing in his salvation when we face life’s trials. Notice that we’re still working out these “I” statements, these first person singular statements of faith that Habakkuk makes. In verse 18, he says, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” You see that he’s decided in advance, he’s resolved himself that, no matter what comes, I’m gonna trust in the Lord.

What is coming here? He describes it in verse 17, because he knows about those Babylonians. They haven’t come to Judah yet, but God said they’re on the way. He’s already heard news about what they did to Assyria and what they did to Egypt when they won the battle at Kamesh and how they defeated the Pharaoh. He’s heard about those. He’s heard about what they did up there in Lebanon when they defeated Lebanon and they cut down the trees. Everywhere they go, they’re like wolves moving through. They eat up everything. They’re like locusts who leave the landscape denuded. They leave it, like a moonscape, everywhere they go. Those Babylonians are coming.

Here is what Judah is going to look like. He says, us. 17 “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,” There won’t be any figs. There won’t be any grapes. There won’t be any wine. The produce of the olive will fail; there won’t be any olives. There won’t be any olive oil. There will be no cooking without olive oil. The fields will yield no food. There will be no barley. There’ll be no wheat; there will be no bread. The flocks will be cut off from the fold. There will be no lamb chops. There will be no sheep. There will be no wool for clothing. There will be no herd of cattle; there will be no beef.

There’s three categories here that Habakkuk recognizes is before them in God’s judgment. The first is the perennial crops, the ones that come up every year. The fig tree, the olive tree, the grapevine are perennial crops; once you’ve planted them and they grow, they will provide fruit every year. . But then, there’s the crops you have to plant every year; this is the category of the barley and the wheat. These are with the annual crops. Then, there is the meat of the lambs and all. Here’s what he’s saying– every source of provision that we have, the provision that we have lived on, that we’ve depended on, will be all gone. Habakkuk will rejoice in God, though.

Maybe, your 401k is empty; your retirement is ruined. You have lost your job. You have found yourself homeless. The gas tank in your vehicle is empty. Even if you lose everything that you have, Habakkuk says to decide, in advance, that you will rejoice in Him.

Is this possible? Well, this is where Habakkuk is; he’s decided that his joy is not in the provision but in the Provider. He’s learned something . Sometimes, the only way to get joy, when you don’t feel joy, is to rejoice anyway. The way to feel joy is to rejoice anyway. Habakkuk has decided, ‘You know what? I’m going to show up at church and I’m going to sing those songs. If I have tears pouring down my face and at the same time, my knees are still knocking, I’m going to rejoice anyway. You can rejoice yourself into joy. In fact, he says, ‘Do you know what? I know where my joy comes from, so I’m going to take joy.’ Do you see that? Verse 18 says, “I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” In other words, ‘I’m going to reach up to the heavens and I’m going to say that the joy of the Lord is my strength and He’s my salvation. I’m going to reach up there and get some joy. I don’t feel joy right now in the midst of where I’m at, but I’m going to take joy. I’m going to rejoice anyway.’

This is the walk of mature faith . The righteous live by faith, not by sight, not by circumstance, but by faith. I’ve decided to rejoice in the God of my salvation. The God of my deliverance. I will take joy in Him.

James 1:2-4 (ESV) 2 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” He says to count it as joy when you fall into trials and trouble.

That word, “count,” is an accounting term. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten a mortgage to buy a house. The bank wants you to give them a list of your assets and liabilities. They want to know what your net worth is. So, you list the things you have that are assets and liabilities. Hopefully, your assets outweigh your liabilities. That’s the whole idea.

Here is what James says, ‘When trouble comes, what we do automatically is we put it in the liability column. It hurts; it feels bad. It goes in the negative column. But, James says, ‘By faith, what I want you to learn to do, because God is God and He loves you and nothing touches you without first passing through His fingers, I want you to count it joy, trusting that He’s conforming your character to the character of Jesus.’ God cares more about your character than He does your comfort. He’s making you like Jesus.

I don’t know where you are on your faith journey. If we’ll admit it to ourselves, the sweetest stories are the ones where He brought you through a storm, where He brought you through a sorrow or through a grief and your faith is matured. Your faith becomes more steadfast, more perfected.

This is why John reflects on this reality of what God is doing in us in his first epistle, when he says, 1 John 3:2 (ESV), “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” He’s saying, ” I’m not sure what God’s up to, but I know this. He’s making me like Jesus. He’s making me fit for glory, for heaven. He’s working on our character. So count it joy. Rejoice anyway, because of the God of our salvation. He knows that ultimately; he’s the God of my salvation. That’s what he says.

Have you come to a place where you’re able to say as Paul writes in Romans 8:28 (NKJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” No good thing is lost. He causes even the bad things to come together to work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He’s working on us . We can rejoice in the Lord.

I’m always astounded by the “amnesia” that comes over a mother who just had a baby. It’s like “immediate amnesia.” The mother goes from having the labor to birth. After the baby is born and as soon as the baby is in her arms, she is nursing the baby and looking at the beautiful miracle of a child. It’s like “amnesia” moves in and she forgets all about the sorrow, the suffering and the labor. The mother only knows the joy. They count it as joy. They count those nine months as joy because of what was at the end of the nine months. It’s astounding to consider.

This is what Habakkuk is saying, ‘I’ve decided for the joy on the other end of this whole story because God is the God of my salvation.’ Habakkuk is writing before Jesus was born ; he hadn’t seen Jesus yet. We’re over here; we already know our Jesus. Habakkuk is looking forward in faith and saying, ‘I believe in the God of my salvation. I believe that He is coming.’ That’s His name, His name is Jesus; it means “God’s salvation.” “Yeshua;” “Jehovah’s salvation.” “God’s salvation.” That’s His name. He’s looking forward to that. Do you know this joy, this competence of being able to rejoice in your salvation no matter what trial you’re facing?


3. Relying on His strength when we are down.

Then finally, we’re up to the final verse. Can you believe it? We’ve spent the last five weeks, going verse by verse, through the book of Habakkuk. Now, we’ve come to verse 19. In verse 19, we see that Habakkuk has an implied “I” statement here, “God, the LORD, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” Habakkuk is relying on God’s strength.

Can we rely on His strength when we are down? How do we continue to trust in the Lord anyway, by relying on His strength when we are down? It comes out of verse 18, there’s a couplet there. It’s a beautiful Hebrew poetical style; they often restate a thing for clarity. Habakkuk says in verse 18, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” This is a beautiful little couplet.

Then, verse 19 seems to be a continuation of speaking in the first person singular. There’s an implied “I” statement here, which is ‘I will rely on the Lord God as my strength.’ That seems to be clearly what he’s doing here. ‘I will rejoice in the Lord of my salvation. I will rely on the Lord God who is my strength. He is my strength. The level of strength that He gives me is not like this – I’ve been down, I’ve sunk down into the mire and He gets me up, He gets me over here and hands me some crutches. He doesn’t leave me to just get by the best I can. That’s not what Habakkuk says. He says, “he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” He pulled me up where I was down and he put me up on the mountain top so I could run around those cliffs.

He has a particular deer in mind. There’s a particular deer that lives in this area called the “Nubian Ibex.” If you’ve been on a trip to Israel, you remember seeing them too, especially in the En Gedi Preserve, where there’s so many of them that you’ll see them running up and down the cliffs. They’re so sure-footed. They’re a smaller kind of antelope. This is surely what Habakkuk had in mind. What’s astounding when you see them is how quickly they can run and jump from cliff to cliff. They are so sure-footed and amazing; they seem to love to be up at the very top where they can get a good look at what’s going on, to make sure there are no predators around. Habakkuk has this imagery in his mind.

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” I can be like a deer who leaps. This is the kind of strength that God gives me. I will rely on that kind of strength.

As you think about the high places, perhaps it’s like God gives me His perspective. Habakkuk is thinking, Now I get it, Lord. You’ve answered my questions, You’ve dealt with me and You’ve heard my cry. I see everything from Your perspective. You’ve lifted me up and I’m going to rely on my strength from You. Now, you’re my strength. The Lord God is my strength.

Habakkuk might have been thinking of Psalm 18 when he wrote this, Psalm 18:31-33 (NLT) 31 “For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? 32 God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. 33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.”

See, when you trust in the Lord’s strength, He doesn’t just set you up with a set of crutches so you can stumble along. No, He lifts you up. He lifts you up so that you can walk in His strength. You can accomplish and do things that you never thought possible, but it’ll always be outside your comfort zone because that’s where God leads us.

It reminds me of a very popular book; it is a classic. You don’t hear it spoken of much these days. I would hear about this book a lot in the seventies. I bought the book when I was a teenager and read it. It really kind of speaks more to the feminine heart than the masculine heart. I think it might have also been because I wasn’t that mature at the time when I first read it. The name of the book is, “Hinds Feet On High Places” by Hannah Hunard. The word, “hind,” is an old English word that refers to a female deer. This book was written in 1955. It’s an extended allegory, similar to “Pilgrim’s Progress,” which was written by John Bunyan.

“Hinds Feet On High Places” is about a young woman named, “Much Afraid.” That’s her name; “Much Afraid.” She was on a journey away from her fearing family. She had two companions that were with her – “Sorrow” and “Suffering.” She was on a journey to follow one that she had heard about called the “Shepherd of the high places.” As she tries to follow him, we see her transformed in the story from an immature believer to a mature believer who knows how to walk day by day, leaping from cliff to cliff, on feet like a deer.

Let’s listen in to one of the conversations between young woman Much Afraid and the Shepherd: “O Shepherd. You said you would make my feet like hinds’ feet and set me upon High Places”. “Well”, he answered “the only way to develop hinds’ feet is to go by the paths which the hinds use.” He basically says to her, ‘You won’t know what I’m talking about until you get your feet on the journey. You won’t know how to depend on my strength until you take a step of faith.’ You see, it’s always outside your comfort zone. If you’re climbing a tree, it’s always out there on the thin shaky limbs. That’s where He says, ‘Go ahead.’

Do you remember being a child and your dad asked you to get into the deep end with him? He said to you, “Jump. I’ll catch you.” It’s that jump, that first step that the shepherd is inviting “Much Afraid” to do. Leave your fears behind and leap because “the growing is in the going.” We grow as we go. It’s hard to drive a parked car.

Young people will sometimes come to me and say, “I’m asking for God’s will about which school I should go to” or “I’m asking for God’s will about if he’s the one I should marry.” I tell them, “Have you done the research? Have you been asking? Have you been looking?” They will say back to me, “Well, no, I’m waiting on God.” Waiting on God is good, but there’s passive waiting and there’s active waiting. Active waiting takes the first step. It’s hard to drive a parked car, so put it in drive and then say, ‘God direct me.’ Now, you’re on a journey. That seems to be the invitation here. Habakkuk says, ‘I’ve decided to rejoice in the Lord, to take my joy from His salvation and to depend on Him for my strength. I’m going with God’s help. I’m not only just going to get through this, I’m not just going to endure, because endurance hangs on by the fingernails, I am going to persevere. Endurance is good, but perseverance is better because perseverance not only hangs on, but keeps on believing. Habakkuk is saying, ‘I’m not just going to get out of the mud. I’m going to rise up on the mountain tops by the strength of the Lord because “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” This is his determination.

Are you feeling down? Are you feeling much afraid today? Are you going through a time of grief or a time of trouble? Have you learned to rely on the Lord for your strength? Have you recognized that His strength is available and gives you empowerment to do what He calls you to do?

You can decide in advance –I’ve decided today, at this very moment, that I’m going to rest on His promises. Even when I’m afraid, I’ve decided that I’m going to rejoice in His salvation. Even though the news doesn’t look good, I’ve decided in advance that I’m going to rely on His strength. Even though I don’t feel like I can hardly get out of the bed, I’m going to believe. I’m going to trust. I’m going to rejoice anyway, because He is God. Even if all things fail me, He will never fail me. I’ve decided, in advance, to praise Him anyway.

We heard the song earlier and it was my first time hearing it – “Hallelujah Anyway .” “Even if my daylight never dawns, even if my breakthrough never comes, even if, I’ll fight to bring You praise. Even if my dreams fall to the ground. Even if I’m lost, I know I’m found. Even if my heart will somehow say, Hallelujah anyway. Anyway, hallelujah. Anyway, I trust in God. Have you made that determination in your life today?

Let’s pray. Lord, may we be like Habakkuk. May we be people who live by faith, who make a predetermination that we trust You, Lord, anyway. I pray for that person here that’s never given their life to you. Is that you, my friend? You’re here today and you’ve never said “yes” to Jesus. You’ve never given Him your life. Would you pray with me right now? Prayer is just an expression of your faith. You can pray right where you are. You can pray along with me – “Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. I believe that You died on the cross for my sin, that You were raised from the grave and that You live today. I believe that. I invite You to come into my life and forgive me of my sin. I repent. I turn to You and ask You to save me and make me a child of God. I want to follow You all of the days of my life as Lord and Savior.” If you prayed that prayer of faith, believing, He will save you. He will adopt you into His family. Others are here today and you know the Lord as your Lord and Savior. You’re a follower, but you’re going through it right now. You’re going through a time of sorrow, a time of grief, maybe a time of trouble. Maybe, your tank is empty. Would you turn to the Lord right now, afresh, and say, “I’m going to rejoice in You anyway, Lord. Look at me. I’m going to depend on You anyway, no matter what goes on around me. I’ve decided to follow You anyway . Lord, would You strengthen me now and encourage me? I take joy now from You, Lord, the Lord of my salvation.” We pray it all in Jesus’ name. Amen.