It's not Denial, it's the Attitude

Saturday, July 11, 2020
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Scripture: Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NKJV)

Observation:  In a ringing climax to the book, Habakkuk announces that though all the natural means of sustenance should fail, he will rejoice in God anyway, even as Paul did while awaiting a decision in a Roman jail cell (Phil. 4:4). Evidently, this is due to a continuous trust in God, regardless of external circumstances, an attitude which Habakkuk needs right now as he contemplates Babylon’s impending judgment upon Judah. Likewise, our relationship with the Lord should not be dependent on what is happening in our lives at any given moment. [Andrews Study Bible Notes. 2010 (J. L. Dybdahl, Ed.). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.]

Application: We find the response of Job to all his problems admirable.  How could anyone loose all his/her possessions, all his/her children, and ultimately his/her health and yet not get angry or complain?  Would we blame anyone for feeling despondent in such situation? Would we be shocked if they expressed their disdain, their frustration, their hopelessness?  In fact, I think we would be more surprised if they didn’t!
     The opposite of Job would be someone who is not able to accept their circumstances and lives in a world of denial.  Studies have shown that people facing terminal disease go through several stages, with the first one being denial.  The initial shock of receiving such unexpected news leads people to deny that it is really happening.  “Surely the reports are wrong.”  “There must be a mistake.”  “This cannot possibly be happening to me.”
     Habakkuk is not going through denial about what he’s going through.  What he’s doing is recognizing all that is happening to him but not allowing it to shake his faith in God.  He is able to maintain that positive attitude because he has seen how God has blessed him in the past.  He chooses to focus on the good things and not simply give up by looking only at all the bad things.
     Everyone of us will face challenging circumstances in our life at some point or another.  It may be the loss of a job, losing money in a promising investment, the tragic and early death of a child or another loved one, a terminal disease diagnosed with no symptoms present or with no previous family genetic connection.  It would be normal for us to have a time of denial, but we cannot remain there.  When we put it all into perspective – the fact that God promises us eternal life, a family reunion from which we’ll never part, and that He will take care of us, His children, we can then share the positive, grateful attitude of Job and of Habakkuk.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank You for all you have done for us in the past.  When things don’t go well and the pain we experience seems unbearable please remind us of all those blessings so we lift our heads up and have the positive attitude which will help us get out of the pit of despair.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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