Though the fig tree does not budThese were my Mom's favourite verses. She called them the "farmer's wife passage" because so often it felt as if all the work was in vain, but that we were still to trust God. It was not that the tender of the fields or grapes had not done the work, just that the crop failed. Sometimes in spite of all of our effort we will not see the results we hope to see. That does not give us an excuse to stop believing God. Actually it gives us more of an opportunity to demonstrate our faith and trust.
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
I am not a farmer's wife. I was, in fact, a pretty awful farmer's daughter wanting more security than the dependence on weather and land gave. But I, too, have learned to love this passage. My "though the's" are quite different, but the end result is the same.
It comforted when we suffered through two miscarriages.
Though the womb remains empty...........I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
Watching events of 9/11 from a foreign land, it provided the refocus.
Though there is an ocean gulf between us, and the world seems to be falling apart around us....I will be joyful.
It gives stability in the ever-changing work field.
Though the job is ever changing and location is not stable....I will be joyful.
It provided strength during a serious crisis.
Though our friends desert us and we stand alone in our beliefs....I will be joyful.
And two years ago this last weekend, it provided the base for celebrating my mother's life. Her favourite passage read at her homegoing celebration.
Though my mother is called home and we experience the sorrow and grief....I will be joyful.
Trusting that God is our strength is a choice. It is not determined by circumstance. It is determined by intent in our hearts. Intent. We must determine that we will trust no matter what happens. In this year where I am focusing on intent, I am brought back to these verses time and time again. I will be joyful. Not I am naturally joyful. Not the circumstance brings me joy. No, it is a choice. I choose to be joyful. I choose to trust. I choose to remember that God is sovereign, even when things seem dismal.
And when I make that choice, then I am able to scale the problem (the heights). Then I am able to have sure-feet. It is my intent to believe that allows me to accept God's strength in the tough times.
Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.
I thought, maybe, some of you needed that reminder as well.
Father thank you for giving me sure-feet to scale the things in my life when I trust in you. Help me to choose joy in all circumstances. Help me to keep my eyes on the source of my strength and not the source of my problems. Give me your joy as I trust you more. Amen.