Two reasons you can rejoice in hardship

Garth Brooks crooned he had friends in “low places.” Friend, we do too.

Life has lots of low places. Hospital waiting rooms, funerals, diminishing bank accounts, hard marriages, illness, and physical limitations are just a few. Low places take us to the bottom of ourselves and leave us feeling down.

Everyone has a low place in their life. Sadly, many of us have had several.

But we’re not alone when it comes to low places. There were many in the pages of Scripture—people who had times when they felt abandoned, scared, and weary.

A prophet named Habakkuk listed some low places and I bet you’ll recognize them even though he penned them thousands of years ago.

1. Insecurity and Illness

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines… (Habakkuk 3:17)

The fig represented prosperity and peace to the ancients. It took years to grow a fig tree. Habakkuk’s beloved land was to be attacked by the enemy, and the fig trees would be destroyed. No peace and no provision would remain.

Sometimes the “fig trees” in our lives are destroyed too—we find ourselves without job security and in need—low places.

Figs also were used medicinally. They were boiled, and poultice was made and used for healing.

Sometimes the “fig doesn’t blossom” for us when our health fails, and we find ourselves in the low place of illness or disability.

2. Relational and Spiritual Disappointment

Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food… (Habakkuk 3:17)

Olives can represent two very dear things in our lives: our children and our spiritual life.

Psalm 128:3 refers to our children as “olive plants around our table.”

What if the “olive fails” by choosing a path that breaks our hearts? That’s such a painful, low place.

And, olives were used for anointing oil in temple service.

What if spiritually you’re disappointed because your church or spiritual leader fails to follow God? That’s a lonely low place too.

3. Financial Difficulty or Job Loss

Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls… (Habakkuk 3:17)

The flocks and cattle were the sustenance for the people. They represented labor and care and could be wiped out in an instant by the enemy.

What if you lose your job or your years of labor are easily dismissed, and there are “no herds in the stall”? That’s certainly a low place emotionally and it’s an empty place when it comes to having your needs met.

Habakkuk lists such low places and then he … complains. No. Grumbles? Nope! He praises and rejoices in God (Habakkuk 3:18-19).

Most people don’t praise and rejoice in the low places. It sure isn’t easy and it’s not natural. But Habakkuk did for two reasons. And, they are the same reasons you can and I can when we are in low places.

God had become his strength.

Low places remind us of our high God. Low places point to our weakness and illuminate God’s strength. We can praise Him from the pit when we rightly name Him as high and strong.

God also had made Habakkuk’s “feet like hinds’ feet” and made him walk on his “high places” (Habakkuk 3:19).

God makes the low places in our lives the high places upon which we walk! We don’t drag and bemoan through the low places; we walk on high places with the likeness of hinds’ feet.

You can go ahead and sing your very own updated version of Garth Brook’s song because you do have a Friend in low places—He is the one with Whom you walk each step of the way. He will make the low places in your life the high places of your history.

So, even in the low places, trust Him and keep walking by faith.

How has God used low places in your life to illuminate His strength? Or, maybe He is doing it right now. Share in the comments on Facebook!

Now read this: For those who are helpless and weary

This post originally appeared on JenniferRothschild.com and was republished with permission.


Jennifer Rothschild has written 14 books, including the bestseller Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Me, Myself, and Lies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil and is the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith events. Jennifer became blind at age 15 and now helps others live beyond limits.


 

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