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Habakkuk 3:17-19: "Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."

The prophet Habakkuk lived in uncertain times. God had clearly revealed to him that difficult and painful times were coming. Yet, even though difficulties loomed on the horizon, Habakkuk was full of joy and worship. How was he able to find hope and joy in the midst of such trying times?

The answer is that his joy and his worship were grounded in something much greater than his current circumstances. In the midst of the uncertainty of the times, Habakkuk was able to ground his faith in the certainty of a God who does not change. He knew that life was short and uncertain in the best of times and, no matter what happened God was his God for an eternity.

Habakkuk's hope was not in material security, in fact, his hope was not in this world at all. His only hope and unchanging source of joy was his eternal, unchangeable God. Habakkuk had deep spiritual resources that enabled him to walk tall without stumbling.

We live in uncertain times as well. We have witnessed the rise of a global terrorism that has no single geographical center to confront, but is able to strike on American soil with increasing regularity. We in Chattanooga have experienced this pain firsthand in the recent murders of a number of servicemen.

We are also faced with the renewal of nuclear fears with Iran and North Korea, as well as renewed aggression from Russia. Natural disasters continue to rock the world, while man-made disasters keep rocking our economy. The drug war rages along our border. The stock market is due for another correction. And our country is painfully divided politically about how to handle every one of the challenges we face. Times are certainly uncertain.

However, the reality is that all times are uncertain and we are just deluded into thinking otherwise. James makes this clear; consider James 4:13-15: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

We do not know what tomorrow will bring, ever, and our lives are less certain than we like to think. Let us make God, the Lord our strength, and trust in him beyond all that would steal our hope and joy. Let us entrust ourselves to our maker and live without fear. In fact, let us learn, at all times, to "exult in the Lord" and "rejoice in the God of our salvation."

Robert Johnson has been at Hixson Presbyterian Church for 17 years. He and his wife, Lynne, have been married for 27 years and have two children, both grown and married.

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