Default Response: Thanksgiving.
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.
Default: failure to act; neglect; lack; want; absence.
In matters of hardship, when things just aren’t going my way, or when the Thanksgiving table looks nothing like the serenity of a Norman Rockwell painting (no, you can not microwave a 25-pound turkey), what’ s my default response?
It should be…
God is good.
Every. Single. Time.
Sure enough, others are watching to see where I place my faith when the table is devoid of figs, grapes, olives, roasted lamb or a thick Angus steak.
Since I know that I know that I know God is good, then I want my thoughts to travel there without hesitation, as a small child would race into the open arms of a loving father.
To respond with,
“Lord, what’s happening is truly difficult. The longing of my heart is unfulfilled. You have the ability to change the course of things, yet You don’t, for reasons known only to You. And though I don’t understand or like it, I choose to rebuke fear and, instead, trust you in the midst of it. Because You are immutably and wholly good.”
Re-wiring my brain to the default response, ‘God is good‘, and measuring all that’s upended in my life or in the world against this immutable truth, I will more readily and authentically “enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4a)
Otherwise, I’d just feel like a stupid fool, rejoicing in the midst of devastation.
When I need to measure the length of something, I’d grab a standard, 12-inch ruler, not a random, broken branch from my front yard.
Similarly, God is good. An unchanging standard by which to measure all else.
The prophet Habakkuk wins as the rock star among prophets with his admirable default response to hardship:
Let us rejoice in God our Savior when there is no food or sheep or cattle. (vs 17)
Or loved one.
May our souls rejoice with thanksgiving, readily defaulting to the truth, ‘God is good’.