Today is a good day for Thanksgiving

I’ve been battling some pretty big depression for the last few weeks. I could give you quite a list of contributing factors (feel free to e-mail me at mishvl@yahoo.com if you’re curious or given to prayer; I’m more than happy to talk about it) – but that is not the point of this post.

Sometimes, crawling through a spiritual and emotional time where it feels like the air is black tar is what it means to live the parable life. It is the practice of gratitude, even when the usual emotions which accompany it are a gazillion miles away. To the right is my icon of gratitude for today: a glamour shot of my husband’s recent close encounter with a deer.

Back in the `70′s, we sang a happy-clappy version of Habbakuk 3:17-19 that sounded weirdly like the song “The Farmer In The Dell”. We’d sing Habbakuk’s list of coming death and famine – God’s judgement – as if it were a list of pesky little annoyances, along with the upbeat chorus that promised it would all be OK. Though many of us sang that song out of great pain, there was always something about that perky tune that made it sound like we were praising God for helping us with really grim stuff like not being able to find a good parking place at the mall. But I digress…

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 go on the heights.

Read the entirety of Habbakuk 3. It really is not the kind of thing to which you’d want to clap along. Habbukuk has been given a message of the kind of wholesale judgement that was going to mean great physical suffering. He intercedes even as he prophesies by asking God, “In wrath remember mercy” (vs. 2). What Habbakuk hears in his soul from God, combined with what sees as he observes the decaying world around him, would be enough to make most of us want to jump off a cliff.

And perhaps Habbakuk did feel like that: “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us” (vs. 16). That ‘day of calamity’ was going to come on this invading nation AFTER God allowed them to first decimate Habbakuk’s friends, family – and nation. I think Habakkuk was prophesying the kind of stuff that would be very costly not just to “someone else” later, but to himself, in his lifetime.

Rejoicing in the Lord in Habbakuk’s context does not mean clapping along to The Farmer In The Dell-style melody. It meant committing to hold on to a deeper reality – the goodness and certain salvation of God. It meant gratitude, even as despair threatens to suck every bit of a whispered thank You down its insatiable black hole.

If you’re having a rough time of it this holiday season, let me know at the e-mail address above. It would be an honor to pray for you.

About Michelle Van Loon
  • Mom

    Wow, I love what you’ve written today. I want to save it to my computer (attributed to you) before it disappears into the blogosphere eventually. Please feel free to pray for me ANYTIME. I count it a privilege to pray for you as well.

    Marcia

  • Marcia

    OK, that’s really random… I had signed up earlier to post a comment on Cara’s blog, and so I signed in as “Mom” — I’ll get that changed as soon as possible!

    Marcia

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Hey Marcia (also known as MOM) -

    Our recent e-mail exchange sparked this particular blog entry, so thank you.
    And I will be praying, my friend.

  • Amy

    “It meant committing to hold on to a deeper reality – the goodness and certain salvation of God. It meant gratitude, even as despair threatens to suck every bit of a whispered thank You down its insatiable black hole.”
    This is so timly for me, thank you.
    Oh that void that just wants to suck you in, but I will hold onto the promise of God….

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Amy – thank you. I so appreciate the courage and acted-upon faith in your words.

    May God bless you today -


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