Gleanings: “Nevertheless”

Some of you will know that one of my favorite words to describe tenacity in the life of prayer is “nevertheless.”  I devoted a chapter to it in my book, Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense.

Last Friday, Father Richard Rohr posted this related and inspiring piece on his blog…


The Great Nevertheless

Posted on April 20, 2012


My favorite single Scripture scholar is Walter Brueggemann, who often strikes me as an Old Testament prophet himself. He has given me so many insights into the Hebrew Scriptures, always filled with faith and passion and intelligence. Several came to me this week, as I was going through a few personal trials myself. He says that Psalm 73 is the “Linchpin Psalm” that almost divides the two major themes of the Book of Psalms, from obedience to the law and will of God–to the increasing sense of pure praise and elation at the goodness of God. It is illustrated in the Psalm itself where only starting in verse 23 can the Psalmist move beyond his fears, resentment of enemies, and doubts to shout out with loving trust.

This is also mirrored in the very last verses of the Prophet Habakkuk, which Brueggemann calls his “Great Nevertheless”. After three Chapters of moaning and cursing, old Habakkuk (wonder why that name never caught on?) magnificently ends his writing with 3:18-19 “I will rejoice in Yahweh, I will exult in God my Savior. Yahweh is still my strength. He makes my feet as light as a doe’s feet in the high places!”

Hind’s Feet in High Places, became a lovely spiritual book written by Corrie Ten Boom, who had endured through the Nazi Holocaust and created a complete allegory around this brilliant metaphor of Habakkuk.

I hope both of these sources might empower and encourage your own “Great Nevertheless” when you need it,  and let you know that it is THE PROCESS ITSELF–OF GETTING TO YOUR NEVERTHELESS– that is your great spiritual teacher.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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