When All Else Fails

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. Habakkuk 3: 17 – 18

NCAA March Madness is going strong in our family! It’s a family tradition. Each one of us has filled out our brackets and we eagerly anticipate who the winner will be! The games and scores are carefully monitored and the leader is announced at the end of each night’s games. We even have a motto and this year’s is in honor of Cole – “I Choose the Team That Won”  because he always goes for the team that wins, and he made it clear that he would complete his form when the games are over.

Miles even had a goal – he wanted to be the first one ever to choose the correct winners in all 36 games and receive the billion dollar prize. Of course, he announced that he knew that probably wouldn’t happen, but he could always hope! He also understands that we are challenging each other in fun. After watching football and basketball games all year, he understands how unpredictable the teams can be.

We try to make it fun, as the texts, emails, and phone calls go back and forth, we consider the upsets, and we try to guess who is going to come out on top. Of course, we are all secretly pulling for Miles, but hopefully if this little guy doesn’t win, he isn’t going to be too disappointed. And as for Cole, he’s already an instant winner too!

I can only imagine how the players feel. As I watch many of these games, I always feel so saddened for those who lose – the devastated looks on these young men’s faces, the tears that fall, the disappointment as they walk off the court – the loss of their hopes and dreams that this year they would be NUMBER 1, the best in the country, the NCAA champs for 2014! I especially feel for the seniors who won’t have the opportunity to try again. How they and their team would have been remembered throughout time and what sweet memories and pride they would have had. There will be a shadow that hangs over them throughout this tournament as they remember the disappointment, and for many, it may last much longer.

Disappointments are a part of life, aren’t they? When our hopes are not realized and our expectations or desires are not met, we feel disappointment. We experience a letdown, a sadness, and a longing for what we think should and could have been. When we set our hearts on people or circumstances, we are often left disappointed and heartbroken. If our true joy and satisfaction comes from either, we are in for a letdown, for both are always changing and neither is always dependable and trustworthy.

There is only One we can truly trust, and He is the only One who can take away the pain of our deepest disappointments. God wants us to put our faith in Him and in His goodness, even in the midst of our despair. He is the only One who can take the difficult things in our lives and work them together for good.

Our questions may never be answered, our circumstances may never improve over time, and the person or persons we have set our expectations and hopes on may not come through, but God will always be the strength of our hearts and He will give us the grace we need to carry on. When we have nothing else, we can know He is sufficient. When all else fails, we have Him.

The prophet, Habakkuk, came to know this same lesson. After God revealed to Him that Babylon was going to conquer and destroy His people and His land, he came to the conclusion that no matter the circumstances, he would find hope and joy in God. If he lost all he had – if the fig trees didn’t bud or there were no grapes on the vine, if the fields produced no crops, if his animals were gone, and if everything he had was destroyed, he knew he could still rejoice in God’s presence, His love, and His blessings yet to come.

May we too know, that when people disappoint us, or when circumstances don’t go as we wish, we will always have His presence with us. When all else fails around us, we can always rejoice in God, our Savior and Lord.

Prayer

Dear God, thank you that you are our strength and our hope when the people and the circumstances in our lives let us down. Thank you for your love and grace to carry us through the difficult  times and for your promise that we can trust in you when all else fails. May we recognize that no matter what we are going through, we can always see your goodness and rejoice in your presence. Amen

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