There are big things going on in this country and in this world that sometimes make me feel exactly how Habakkuk does:
How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
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.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted. ~Habakkuk 1:2-4
I read this complaint to God last week and all I could think was, "I feel you Habakkuk. My heart is burdened just like yours." Don't you hear the frustration in his voice? That is the frustration in my prayer often times when I pray for the end of abortion; when I think about all of those innocent unborn babies who deserve life but instead get death. I feel that frustration when I think about the direction our country is headed; all the debt that we've laid upon our children's shoulders. It's the frustration I feel when I pray for the people in Haiti who just experienced flooding from a tropical storm and are still living in tents because of an earthquake that happened years ago. And I could go on and on...
And then there are things going on in my own life that make me feel like Habakkuk. I hate that sometimes my heart wonders if God has forgotten about me and my family. I know He hasn't, but that doubt still creeps in. I'm frustrated and I cry out to Him often. And I wait.
Then last week I signed onto Facebook and someone had posted this verse:
"Then the Lord said to me,
'Write my answer plainly on tablets,
so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.
This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.' ~Habakkuk 2:2-3
I immediately felt like the Lord was using that friend and her status to speak directly into my heart; directly into the situation in which my family is currently living.
You'll probably notice a theme throughout my blog posts this month, and most likely into next month and potentially on from there: waiting, waiting on the Lord. To be honest I'm pretty sure God has determined that to be the theme of my life. He even saw fit to have me marry a man who is incredibly long-suffering and doesn't mind waiting for anything (I mean, is that even human??)
The last line of those 2 verses is hardest for me to wrap my heart around: "It will not be delayed". That is not what things feel like right now! But the truth of the matter is that God isn't confined by the time and space He created. He is outside of time and so He doesn't delay. He's not watching what is going on and waiting to interject. Instead, the plan is already in place. His provisions are complete. The story has already been written.
Obviously my brain gets that, right? But how do I get it to my heart!? I've heard it said that the furthest distance is between your brain and your heart. At least that is very much the case with me. My brain gets it; my heart doesn't want to embrace it.
And yet it's the words that Habakkuk writes in his prayer later on that I cling to:
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights. ~Habakkuk 3:17-19
And I can cling to these words because I know my God. I can always rejoice in who He is no matter what my circumstance. Even when things are not going my way. Even when I have to wait. Even when it doesn't seem like God hears me or is even near, I know the truth is this: The Lord is my strength! He is my salvation. And that is something in which to rejoice, always.
I just had to say, I saw that verse on Facebook last week and decided to read through the whole book (yes, all 3 chapters!). I underlined verses that stood out to me and took some notes. Then on Sunday we get to church and our Pastor is speaking about going through difficult times and guess what verses he talks about? Habakkuk :17-19. I turned to my husband and showed him that I had just marked those verses in my Bible a few days before! Coincidence? I think not..
And then we joked about how one day soon we're going to get kicked out of church for whispering. Because truly, we're a couple of children.