Be Thankful, Regardless!

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Thanksgiving Day is just a few days from now.
Usually our thanksgiving focus is on our abundance, for which we are grateful, but there are times
when things are not abundant.
There are times when everything seems to be against us.
There are times when the cupboard is bare and the balance in the checkbook is zero.
Yet, even in the worst of times there is so much for which we can be grateful.
It is easy to thank God in the times of abundance; but we must also give thanks when things are not so good.
So, be thankful -- regardless!

We look at Habakkuk 3:17 and remember that there are times when our fields are barren.
Crops represent the hope of the farmer.
Habakkuk is not referring to a backyard hobby garden.
The harvest of the fields and the animals were their livelihood, their income, and their sustenance.
They depended upon a harvest and upon their flocks and herds to survive.
Even though all that might fail, there was still reasons to be thankful.

Does your life ever seem like a barren field?
Have you ever lost your your harvest?
Have your flocks ever been destroyed?

Your answer might be "yes:"

Here are some great Biblical saints who could sympathize with you.
Job could.
He said: "My days are past, my plans are torn apart, even the wishes of my heart."
(Job 17:11)

Moses could as he said: "I alone am not able to carry all this people,
because it is too burdensome for me.
So if Thou art going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Thy sight,
and do not let me see my wretchedness
." (Numbers 11:14,15)

The psalmist also could, as he wrote: "For my life is spent with sorrow,
And my years with sighing; My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away
." (Psalms 31:10)

Elijah could sit with you under the juniper tree:
"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down
under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, 'It is enough;
now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers
.' " (1 Kings 19:4)

Sometimes our fields become barren and fruitless.
But we should give thanks -- regardless!
We should have the attitude of: The Psalmist who said, "Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence
." (Psalms 42:5)

Even when things seem hopeless and we can't see a way out, Habakkuk teaches us that even
in those times there is a reason to rejoice. (Hab. 3:17-18)
The words that we find in Habakkuk means "to jump for joy or to triumph; to be glad,
or to spin around
."
In the New Testament, "joy," means "calm delight, to have a sense of being well-off." Happiness is based on what happens to me, but joy is based on how I react to what happens to me.

As Christians we can have joy, even in hard times.
We can have real joy because God knows our needs better than we do, and He has always provided
for us and He always will.
"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:19)
That is a promise from God -- we can count on it!
So, we can be thankful -- regardless!

We can have joy even in times of sorrow because: "For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning
."
(Psalms 30:5)
"Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fulness of joy;
In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever
." (Psalms 16:11)
So, we can be thankful -- regardless!

God's Grace is always sufficient and His strength perfect in our weakness!
Paul wrote, "And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason,
to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh,
a messenger of Satan to buffet me -- to keep me from exalting myself!

Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions,
with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong
." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

You and I can experience the joy even when things seen dark and bleak.
God is always sufficient to meet our needs.
So, we can be thankful -- regardless!

Habakkuk said: "The Lord is my strength." He is saying that the Lord is his resource.
"He makes my feet like hind's feet."
A hind was a deer-like animal which is sure-footed and light-footed.
"He makes me walk on high places." He lifts me up above all my troubles.
So, we can be thankful -- regardless!

The Lord is all we need!

Many of us could tell of the times when we were so depressed, discouraged, and so overwhelmed
that we didn't believe that anyone could help us.
But Jesus met our every need and He has always been there for us just when we needed Him.
That is a reason for thanksgiving!
We can be joyful and thankful because He will always provide what we need.

"The Power who pities man has shown a blessing for the eyes that weep.
The light of smiles shall fill again the lids that overflow with tears; and weary hours of woe and pain
are promises of happier years.
There is a day of sunny rest for every dark and troubled night; and grief may bide an evening quest,
but joy shall come with early light.
For God hath marked each sorrowing day, and numbered every secret tear,
and Heaven's long age of bliss shall pay for all His children suffer here
."
-- William Cullen Bryant

Are you in pain today?
Are you in sorrow or grief?
Though your crops fail, and your hopes and dreams have vanished, you can be thankful because
Jesus stands ready to help you.
We can be thankful -- regardless!

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White