A month ago, my husband, son, and I left on a road trip to finish raising support, build ministry teams, and say good-bye to family and friends. Nothing reveals the need to increase our ability to parent quite like loading up our family in a “metal box”  and driving six thousand miles. What were we thinking?! But God is teaching us how to depend upon Him in situations that feel more extreme than regular daily life. It is in His great kindness that He is preparing us for the work He has for us to walk in. For our family, that walk will take us to Italy. For now, it takes us across the United States and back. No matter where we are, He is the faithful and good Father who loves and wants good for us. We see His heart in this week’s passages. With lovingkindness He warns Israel, and He warns us. He longs for them, and for us, to turn to Him, to live life out in right relationship with Him, and to be His people. Every passage this week speaks of His patient heart, not wanting any to perish but for everyone to come to salvation (see 2 Peter 3:9), and His coming wrath for those who refuse to heed His warnings (see 2 Peter 3:10).
scripture - habakkuk 3:17-19 (ESV)
17 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,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
observation - This is a lesson we are working on with our son, and God is working on with us. Though things may not have turned out in this life as you thought they would, though you may experience the discipline of God, though those around you may not make the right choices and it impacts your life negatively, though life is hard for in this life you will have trouble we may take heart because He has overcome the world (see John 16:33). Habakkuk’s response is the only right one and is the one that brings us freedom. As we turn our hearts to Him, rejoicing in Him and taking joy in Him, our eyes are turned from allowing the circumstances of this life to make our hearts cold. Indeed, turning to Him we find salvation and strength. We look to Him because He is the good Father. We look to Him because in Him we find life. The things we have been clinging to are not good for us. As we release our grip and learn from Him we are set free to live life with Him, and are set free to live out the eternity that has been placed on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
application - If you have not read this week’s passages, I encourage you to do so. The pattern revealed is of great importance for in it you will catch an awesome glimpse of God’s power and the amazing reality of His grace. He saves us from ourselves (see Ephesians 5:6), and He saves us from our enemy (see Isaiah 25:8-9 and Romans 16:20). Put your hope in God for He is mighty to save!
prayer - God, not all of us have seen You clearly in our parents. Many of us come from broken places where authority could not be trusted and where our good was not fought for. Even the best parents do not reveal you perfectly. But You, Oh God, are perfectly pure, holy, and just. You are for us and not against us, and You love in a way that requires action. Our right response to You is to worship You in Spirit and in truth. Transform us Lord. Reveal in us the ways in which we are not trusting You, the ways we don’t understand who You are, and the alliances we have made with anyone or anything apart from You. Thank You for Your patience with us and for providing a way for us to be in right relationship with You. Thank You that you not only provide a way, but You also give us strength and lift us up, protecting, comforting, and providing for us, and giving us everything we need to walk with You. You are kind and loving and good and by Your grace You do not give us what we deserve. May we be people who stand in Your grace and worship You with each and every aspect of the life You have given to us. We are in awe of You!
 A phrase used by a friend of ours.