…you ask God if He really knows what you’re going through (as if He hasn’t answered this question many times before) and He leads you to the book of Habakkuk and (1) enumerates your “complaints”, (2) lets you see how He has been answering your “complaints”, then (3) tells you to wait and wait in faith and worship Him while you wait.
The First Complaint:
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
The Lord’s [weird] answer:
6 I am raising up the Babylonians
(scary description follows)
The conversation in my head looked like this:
The Second Complaint:
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrong.
Why then do You tolerate the treacherous?
Why are You silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than
The Lord’s answer:
2 Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald
may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not
4…but the righteous will live by his faith –
Here’s the dialogue in my own words:
Some, if not most of us, grew up being told to never question God. But here’s what I think: there’s a difference between “asking” and “questioning.”
We question God when we allow our why’s to overwhelm us too much, it overshadows the fact that “all things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).” We ask of God to gain understanding so we would know how to respond to every circumstance that a season brings. And I quote the psalmist: “Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live (Psalm 119:144).”
God’s way of answering us when we ask, given that we ask to understand, could be weird for some. If you’ve done this several times now, you may have noticed how He either answers us with a command, a picture of of the future, or another question. And He is cool like that. I’m glad He always gives us something to figure out so we’d realize we can’t figure things out on our own and resolve to do things with Him. Life is exciting like that.
This is me writing down some of the mental notes I’ve made the past two months.
Habakkuk’s response gave me a good picture of the posture that God would want us to take when we cannot make of the way He answers our questions.
2 Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.
(an account of what God has done and can do follows)
If He did it then, what makes us think He cannot do it now?
16 …Yet I will wait patiently
When we wait, we do not fret. We do not strive. We fight the urge to take matters into our own hands. We wait patiently. We trust unwaveringly.
17 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,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Worship is an expression of reverence. When we worship Him despite of, in spite of, we acknowledge that His ways are not our ways.
Worship is an expression of gratitude. And we do not express gratitude ONLY when things are going our way.
There’s more to life than our present. When we can’t find anything to be thankful about today, then we can thank Him for the many yesterdays He has seen us through or the tomorrows that He has in store for us.
Some seasons can be perplexing and emotionally unflattering. But the fact that the Lord is our Immanuel (God with us) is reason enough to rejoice. We do not have to rely on ourselves when things get too stressful because it is He who makes us; it is He who enables us. And that is all that matters.