And the LORD answered me:
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:2-3 ESV)
The Book of Habakkuk starts off with a burden in v. 1 then without any introduction as to who he is, or a salutation, or even a “grace and peace to you” he launched into Oh, Lord how? and oh, Lord, why?
The burden must have been that heavy. Ever have days like that?
Things have not changed much since Habakkuk’s time, has it? There are still a lot of things that burden our hearts – the state of our country, economy, relationships, finances, etc., etc. We are asked to give our burdens to the Lord. But you want to know something? I have a hard time doing that. I may have released something to God but then find that pretty soon, I’m carrying it again. Oh ye of little faith…
But we see in v. 5, the Lord answers right away – and He goes on for a bit. Hmmm, maybe Habakkuk is on to something here.
Here’s what I gleaned from Habakkuk:
1. It’s okay to complain.
The key is to direct our complaints to God, not to others. God is omnipotent. Therefore, He is the only one who can do something about the situation.
My ESV Bible says Habakkuk’s prayer” started in Chapter 3. Granted I’m not a biblical scholar but to me, Habakkuk’s prayer started in Chapter 1:2. When Habakkuk cried out to God, his complaint was transformed into a prayer.
2. Do not hold back.
Pour out your heart. God is not surprised by our emotions or our feelings. He is omniscient. He knows all things.
3. Give space for God to answer.
We can’t just present a laundry list of things that bother us and not give God a chance to talk back. Usually when we stop and listen it gives Him a chance to impress something upon our hearts – be it a conviction of a hidden sin, a command to obey, or the answer to the prayer.
4. Write it down.
This is my personal favorite. Write it down because you won’t always remember. It may be the cute thing your little nephew said this afternoon or what God whispered in your heart last night (see #3). I treasure the journals I have kept over the years, even the ones that are hard to read (these more so because it traces the hand of God in my life even before I became His child).
Note to self: Keep a notebook next to your bible to write down the things that God shows you because you won’t always remember! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just choose one from the myriad of notebooks you bought for yourself when you went school supply shopping for your son.
I don’t know if all of Habakkuk’s complaints were resolved but I do know that in the last three verses of the book, it says he rejoiced in the Lord. Whether he received his answer or not, he rejoiced because of who God is, not what He can give him. Isn’t that what our attitude should be at all times? To look into His face not just His hands?
If you are carrying a burden, remember God is so, so good. He is always up to something. He is working in the background – softening someone’s heart here or watering a seed there – you never know. As the main verse says: A vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
[Reading from Blue Letter Bible – Chronological Plan]