Last week, as I was getting ready for bed, I was grumbling! I was grumbling before the Lord and asking, “how long?” How long would we have to shelter in place? How long until there was a cure to Covid-19? How long until I could hug my friends? Or return to church? And as I grumbled, I heard God speak. Not in an audible voice. But in a whisper. Yes, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, read Habakkuk. Habakkuk? Yes, Habakkuk! And with that, I knew it had to be the Holy Spirit, and not a bad burrito, as I had never been prompted to read Habakkuk before. Nor was it a book, I’d turn to when I needed a little hope and perspective. So in obedience to the Lord, I opened my Bible to Habakkuk and started to read.
As I turned to Habakkuk, these words immediately jumped off the page, “Habakkuk’s Complaint”! Ha ha, God! You got me. Then after a good laugh, I was gripped by these words from the prophet in the second verse of chapter one, “How long, Lord, must I call for help”! Wow, I immediately identified with Habakkuk’s agonizing cry to the Lord. Like us, the people of Judah were facing a crisis. And while their crisis was different than ours, Habakkuk was asking similar questions.
Then I read God’s response to Habakkuk, when He says, “Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am doing something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told (1:5).” My heart leaped with joy, as I am sure it did for Habakkuk. I began to imagine what our city, our nation and our world might look like as God’s plan began to unfold. And I found hope. Yes, God was going to do something, but then to my surprise, and I am sure Habakkuk’s as well, I read how God was going to accomplish His plan for His people. And it wasn’t quite what I expected. And I am sure it wasn’t what Habakkuk expected either. Then for the rest of the book, I was invited to listen in on a conversation between God and Habakkuk, as Habakkuk comes to terms with God’s plan and purposes.
Finally, at the end of the conversation, Habakkuk exclaims, “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 (3:17,18).” How is Habakkuk able to move from pain to this place of peace and confidence? Well it was a journey! And since that night I have been studying and meditating on this book, and here is what I have come to remember along my journey….
First, even when all outward evidence points to the contrary, the church is called to trust in the Lord. This trust is based not on what we see, but on who God is—the Lord Almighty (2:13). And the Lord Almighty calls all people, from every tribe and nation, to place their trust in Him, for “the righteous shall live by his faith” (2:4). While at times God may seem silent, He always has a plan and is at work in unseen ways. The example of Habakkuk encourages believers to wait on the Lord, expecting that He will indeed work out all things for our good (Romans 8:28). Although God’s plan was not clear to Habakkuk, he had learned to trust God and lived by faith.
Secondly, the book affirms that God is a sovereign, omnipotent God who has all things under control. We just need to be still and know He is at work. He is who He says He is and does keep His promises. Even when we cannot see it, He is still on the throne of the universe. And when we rest in that fact, we can like Habakkuk, declare that: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” (3:19).
|God’s ways are not our ways, yet He can be trusted. Even when things seem chaotic, God is still in control. God wants what’s best for us even when it’s hard to understand. And understanding how God works is not my job, but trusting Him is. So in my grumbling, I have rediscovered that peace and joy don’t come from my circumstances, but from the Lord Almighty. My timing, is just that, my timing. But God’s timing is perfect! So while I may grumbling, God is using COVID 19 to accomplish His plan and purposes in our world, and I do believe God is saying, “Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am doing something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told (1:5).”|
Lesson learned. Now God, can I go out and play? 😊