Originally published on May 1, 2020
TGIF . . . Thank Goodness It’s Friday! Or is it?? Is it Friday or Saturday? It’s hard to know what day it is when every day feels like Saturday. One day last week I drove through the McDonald’s drive-thru (don’t judge~I’m tired of cooking) and asked for the $5 Wednesday meal deal and the voice in the box said, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but today’s Thursday.” Oh yeah. I knew that.
No matter what day it is on the calendar, it’s a day God has given us. And though many of our usual choices have been understandably taken from us during this time, there are still some things we can choose. Mark Batterson, in his book In a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day, made this statement about Jewish survivors in a Nazi concentration camp, “Everything was taken away from the Jewish prisoners. They were stripped of their clothing, their pictures, and their personal belongings. The Nazi captors even took away their names and gave them numbers. Viktor Frankl was number 119,104. But Frankl said there was one thing the Nazis couldn’t take away: ‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.’” Batterson goes on, “The most important choice you make every day is your attitude. Your internal attitudes are far more important than your external circumstances.”
Joy, like love, is one of the choices we get to make each day. We can make the choice to rejoice. Joy is a hard choice when you’re tired. And we’re all tired. I get that. But I’m not talking about working up, muscling up, pulling an emotion out of nowhere like a magician’s rabbit. I’m not advising us to just slap on a happy face like an emoji at the end of a text message. What I am talking about is the kind of joy that tough circumstances can’t touch and challenging events can’t change.
In Habakkuk 3:17, the prophet describes the future siege of Jerusalem and the effect it will have on the economy. He says there will be no fruit, no grain, no livestock~no way to make a living. No stimulus check for Habakkuk! The future looked grim and his prospects looked bleak. Many of us may feel the same. But we, like Habakkuk, have a choice. In 3:18, he turns a corner when he says, “YET I will rejoice in God. I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” How could he respond to such tragic events with joy? In verse 19 he gives us the answer: It isn’t his own strength he’s relying on. “God the LORD is my strength. He makes my feet like the deer’s and causes me to tread on my high places.” Habakkuk recognizes that God gives him both the strength and the capability to walk through rough places. Rest assured, God is still in the strength and equipping business. He will give us the strength we seek and the abilities we need to get through all the rocky times in our lives.
Although many of our daily choices have been necessarily removed from us, we still have the most vital one. We have the choice to rejoice in our God and to rely on His strength to get us through each day. We can make the choice to rejoice. We can make the choice, regardless of our circumstances, to rely on God’s strength through prayer, scripture reading, and worship. We can make the choice to trust God to equip us with the necessary tools for the task at hand~that He gives us the perfect “feet” to walk -to run-to leap from one rocky spot to the next. We can make the choice to rejoice today.
As Elisabeth Elliot once said, “The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.”
I think I’ll go to MickeyD’s next week for my favorite sandwich meal deal. That is, if I can remember what day it is.