11/28/2021 I Will Rejoice In The Lord ~Rev. Bernie Chung
It is a good thing to have a national holiday of Thanksgiving; and it is not just the holiday itself but because we have a lot to be thankful for in spite of all these negative occurrences mentioned below. The new coronavirus epidemic has been with us for almost two years, yet recently the infection rates still trend sharply upward in Europe. Inflation has gone up dramatically as gasoline prices in the California Bay Area have
soared to an 8-year high. The consumer price index is at its highest level in 30 years. In California the prolonged drought situation has not been alleviated. The Canadian west coast is under the danger of catastrophic floods. Wars are still raging in many countries and millions of refugees are being displaced. What we have seen around the world today are bleak indeed.
There is a place in Canada where crops have been lost in the past eight years due to dry land. Farmers have new hope for harvest every spring, planting borrowed seeds from the government. Unfortunately, year after year the dry seasons have brought disappointment again and again. During one year’s Thanksgiving in a church gathering, there were praise songs and testimonies that warmed people's hearts, and strengthened their faith in God. Among the congregation there was an older farmer whose wrinkled face attested to the many years of sun exposure. He wore a suit common for Sunday worshippers. He was downtrodden because of bad harvests. However, he stood up and recited these Old Testament scriptures with conviction and optimism. The passages were from Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NIV), saying: "Though the fig tree does not bud 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. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.”
When the farmer experienced the worst famine in the past, he would remind himself that God's blessings do not come just in one season. In tumultuous life journeys, we often experience God’s protection many times over. Similarly, righteous people who trust and obey God will be able to "walk on high places” by His power. They will rejoice in the salvation in the Lord. Therefore, regardless of the hardships and poverty we may have in life, we the people “in the Lord” will be joyful because we know God is the Great Provider and Savior who has control over everything. Our covenant Lord God is faithful and we can look forward to His help always. Let’s place our hope in God's mercy and provision, not on our own ability and strength; based on God's faithfulness and power, not on our own struggle or effort. Brothers and sisters, God's faithfulness and love are everlasting, so our gratitude to God should also be unceasingly. Amen!