Praise the Lord anyway!

12 Apr

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For though the fig tree blossom not

              nor fruit be on the vines,

Though the yield of the olive fail

              and the terraces produce no

              nourishment, 

Though the flocks disappear

              from the fold

              and there be no herd in the stalls,

Yet will I rejoice in the Lord

              and exult in my saving God.

God, my Lord, is my strength;

              he makes my feet as swift

              as those of hinds

              and enables me to go upon the heights.

                                           (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

This Scripture verse is wonderfully, verbally illustrated in a book, “Hinds Feet in High Places.” Hannah Hurnard, the author, writes about Much-Afraid. Much-Afraid is full of fears and is all but emotionally crippled.

 It’s a story about you and me.

Much-Afraid’s journey, moving from the darkness of fear to the heights of peace and joy, gives us a great truth: Life’s difficulties are both challenges and opportunities.

The troubles, fears and pain we suffer need not be weights crushing us down. Rather, they can be stepping  stones over which we walk, even boulders over which we must laboriously climb.

But the climb to the “heights” is possible. God gives us “hinds’ feet,” his grace through his Word and Sacraments. Each of us can say with perfect faith and confidence, “God, my Lord, is my strength.”

Our Catholic faith reminds us constantly that God is to be glorified at all times, even in the midst of turmoil, persecution and suffering. Peter and other Apostles were arrested and beaten. They left the ordeal “full of joy that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name” (See Acts 5:17-32).

In the Office or Readings, we find another example of the Church encouraging us to praise God in the midst of affliction. As we pray Psalm 44, we acknowledge all the good things God has done for us – and then we complain about the problems we face: “Arise, O Lord, why do you sleep? Arise, do not reject us forever!”  And the Church, at the end of the psalm, has us pray: “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen!”

There is a saying among the faithful. “In the midst of trouble, praise the Lord anyway!”

That says it in a nutshell – but please, if you have not already done so, read “Hinds Feet in High Places.”

Or maybe read it again.

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