September 7, 2020
By Lawna Kennedy
Waiting can be such a tough task. It usually requires a lot of patience and if you’re not careful, frustration can cause you to rush ahead of the waiting process. I’m currently in a season where I’m holding on to God’s promises, but it feels like my circumstances are taunting my faith. The cunning whisper of the enemy seems to waft in saying, “Did God really say he would come through for you?”
There was a prophet named Habakkuk that had similar moments where he too questioned and complained to God. I would like to take this blog and dissect a few verses from the book of Habakkuk. I pray you catch a fresh wind of faith in God’s character and promises towards you.
Habakkuk was different from many prophets because he asked God questions and waited on God for the answers. In Habakkuk 1:2 the prophet says to the Lord, “How long, Lord must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence and you do not save?” (CSB) The prophet begins the letter by voicing his frustrations to God. He lived in a time where his people in Judah were doing evil things and justice was perverted. Habakkuk was tired and overwhelmed by the amount of wickedness that took place in Judah.
Sound familiar? Our world is full of people who do evil things, shed innocent blood, and act in other unjust manners. But I want to lean in a bit more and ask you to inspect your own life. What have you been crying out to God about? What prayer have you been lifting to God in private? Have you had faith for a specific thing and now it’s starting to seem like it won’t come to pass? I related to Habakkuk’s question because sometimes it feels like God is ignoring me and turning a blind eye to whatever is happening in my life. But like Habakkuk, we too must learn to present our hurt, frustration, and questions to God and wait for him to respond.
We see God respond to Habakkuk a few verses later. He lets him know that he has seen it all and will bring justice against the people of Judah. When Habakkuk receives God’s answer, he can’t believe it! God decided to bring about justice through the people of Babylon who were much more wicked than Judah. In fact, here are some of Habakkuk’s words in verse 13 of chapter one: “Why are you silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself?” (CSB)
Pause for a moment. How many answers have you not initially liked that God gave you?
Like Habakkuk, sometimes we receive a word from God, and we don’t like what He has told us. Habakkuk was real with God and always told him how he felt. God didn’t punish him for being honest. In fact, God listened and responded to the questions and even the complaints Habakkuk had. His actual words to God were these “I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower. I will watch to see what he will say to me about my complaint”. (Habakkuk 2:1, CSB)
Sometimes, I find myself trying to hide my true feelings from God for the sake of being a “good Christian”, when in fact, I’m not ok with the answer I’ve been given. We can learn from Habakkuk and be honest with God when we are having a tough time with the answer or the momentary silence He gives us. He can handle our frustration and He already see it in our hearts. So, let it out and allow God to minister to that area in your life.
In the middle of Habakkuk’s complaints to the King of Kings, God decided to respond with reassuring words. “The Lord answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:2-3, CSB) In the middle of his questions, God reminded him of his character. Writing on tablets was God’s way of allowing his words to be seen by many and it also helped people remember what he had said. God followed these instructions with this statement in verse 4, “But the righteous one will live by his faith.” (CSB)
Are you living by faith right now? Or are you living by whatever your circumstances are showing you? The question you need to be answered might be delayed. The prayer you’ve been praying may not get answered in the way you thought would, but it will certainly come and not be late. God is not a man that He can lie. You can count on Him.
God spent most of chapter 2 reminding Habakkuk of His true character. He reminded him who was really in charge and that justice would always come to the wicked. From that moment on, we see a shift in Habakkuk’s mindset. He goes from complaining to worshiping God for who He is. Habakkuk closes out his letter with these words, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, CSB)
I may not see evidence of what God has told me. There may be nothing that supports my faith in God’s words to me. But I will still celebrate in the Lord because He is still good and faithful towards me.
So, what can we take from Habakkuk and God’s dialogue?
1. It’s ok to ask God real questions while you are in your waiting.
2. Even when there seems to be no response, God hears you and is concerned about you.
3. God’s character is steadfast and trustworthy, so we should meditate on the characteristics of God more often!
4. When we shift our focus from our situations and onto the one who works all things together for good, we can shift from a place of complaining to praising.
Friend, I pray you found some encouragement through God’s word. Keep your faith in God even if you are in the middle of a crisis or an unfavorable circumstance. God will remain faithful to His children.