Matters of Faith: No Matter What!

20161113_JLRussellBy Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.​

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.”

Someone asked me how do I come up with the topics for Matters of Faith. I shared with him that the inspiration can come from something that I read, a chance encounter, an experience that I had, or any variety of sources. As Tuesday was the anniversary of my mother’s sudden transition from here to eternity, and I reflected and thought of the pain and sorrow my family and I experienced on that dreadful day. On the following day, I attended a Bible study at The Greater Universal Baptist Church where they were studying the book of Habakkuk. From that reflection and the discussion, I found my inspiration. I would write about my commitment to rejoice, exult, and triumph in the Lord…, “no matter what!”

I was all set to go, had created the outline for the article, when I got word of an incident that challenged my commitment to rejoice, exult and triumph no matter what. I received a call on Thursday that a very dear friend from church — without warning — died. I found myself asking why this young, vibrant woman, full of life, and who loved and served the Lord with passion, would have her life snatched so soon and so unexpectedly? I thought about her mother, her daughters, her sister, and her fiancé. What could be said to them at such a time as this? We know that everyone eventually comes to the same fate, but it seems that death came too soon and took the wrong person. I found myself asking, “Am I ready for “No matter what?”

I thought again about my mother, the Bible study, the words of Habakkuk, and what had inspired me in the first place. When Habakkuk penned the words to this book, he was overwhelmed by his circumstances, discouraged by the inequity, appalled by the violence, disappointed by his powerless to change things, sickened by the injustice of the judicial system, and depressed by the wicked and perverse processes of the government. Habakkuk looked at the worst of times; when the fig trees yielded no fruit and no grapes grew on the vines, when the olive crop failed and the fields produced no grain, even the sheep had all died and the cattle stalls were empty.

Just when he was about to throw in the towel, he shifted his thinking from the natural to the spiritual. He would be joyful and glad no matter what! Not because he had the ability or the power to make things better, but simply because the Lord God was his savior. He had faith that He would give him strength and make him sure footed. He would give him the stability when things are shaken. He would balance him on high and hilly places.

Edward Mote understood “no matter what” and wrote, “When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Let me encourage you to let my inspiration be your inspiration. Rejoice and be glad…, NO MATTER WHAT!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter @jlorenr, and email us at  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email