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. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV
I completed a teaching series on the minor prophets about a month ago. In my experience, these books are overlooked as key books for application and theological discussion. Not many of us want to dive into all the locust swarms, ancient geography, and invading armies. Books like Obadiah and Nahum are skimmed over to concentrate more on the history books and other bigger books with action and moving poetry. Consequently, I’ve discovered that these “minor” prophets are not minor at all. I have found more personal connection in these books than I ever could in the spectacular stories of Moses, Daniel, Joshua, and the like. I don’t see my life as an epic saga. I often want to be able to read a book of the Bible in one sitting and grasp the context of the writing in a few hours instead of a few months. I have a much better chance of a personal connection when I can wrap my mind around the whole book at one time.
My favorite of these books is Habakkuk. It’s not a normal prophetic book where God speaks to the people and the prophet writes without input. Habakkuk writes his personal conversation with God and it is similar enough to my walk with God that I am glued to the page, wanting to understand every single detail of his situation.
You see, I recently turned 40. It’s just a number, but it’s also a turning point. I can’t help but reflect on major themes of my life and dwell on what I’ve come to know about my Father. I want to know Him more. I want my life to show evidence of his imprint on this earth.
Habakkuk knows only God’s divine power can turn his people away from their destruction. The prophet’s passion to plead to God on their behalf is inspiring. Some of the hardest moments of my life have been when God gives the “wrong” answer to my dilemma and I continue to be stuck in the waiting. Don’t we all hate it when we know God can act but doesn’t? In my opinion my days have been filled with waiting. I got married to God’s perfect man for me, but if I’m honest, I think it took God way too long to show him to me. (Ladies, can I get an amen?) I’m still waiting for God to grow our family.
God replies to Habakkuk’s cries with an answer he doesn’t expect, and REALLY doesn’t want. God will use the evil Babylonians to carry out his plan for Judah. We see it over and over in the Bible, but sometimes we just can’t believe God would use an even worse trial to draw us closer to him. I struggle with infertility. So, Habakkuk and I sit and wait for a different and better answer (see 2:1). I see Habakkuk with a frustrated tone here, one that I share. I get angry with God, thinking nothing He can say will make me feel better. I believe the devil’s lies that God doesn’t care about little old me and will lead me into destruction just to prove a point.
God replies that the righteous live by faith (2:4), and he WILL validate our concerns and bring His perfect answer in time.
Habakkuk’s response is a growing faith. His “even thoughs” (3:17-19) are not enough to shake his trust in his Provider. I’ve learned the same. God does have a beautiful and carefully crafted plan for me, even though I may not always approve of his methods. As an application, this often affects my writing on social media. I don’t ever want to poison the internet with my immediate and raw emotion toward God about my infertility. I wait. I wait until the sting has numbed a bit, when I can write from a perspective of trust in God. I don’t ever want my raw, unfiltered emotion to paint an inaccurate picture of who God is and what I believe about Him. I wait, which leads to trust.
What are your “even thoughs”? Does it seem that God doesn’t care? Wait patiently and learn to trust him. That way, no matter what life throws at you, you can look back on God’s past faithfulness and rejoice in the waiting.
It CAN happen. I thank Habakkuk for his example.