Sometimes it may seem like the trials and tribulations we face have been orchestrated by an anonymous player behind the scenes. And maybe they have. When that’s the case, calamity comes not only from one direction, but from several at the same time. You don’t have one enemy but many, and they’re coming against you to destroy you.
That was obviously the situation for Habakkuk. His name has, by the way, a very interesting and intriguing meaning: ‘One who wrestles with another’. And Habakkuk was really wrestling with someone, with unseen forces besetting him and his nation from various directions. When he writes down his conversations with God, he begins with the question of why things like violence, injustice, wrong, destruction, strife and conflict are all around him. And even nature seems to share in the attack on the people, by not yielding any fruit. Habakkuk cries out “Where are you Lord in all this? Lord, why are you not granting us victory over our enemies? Lord didn’t you promise us a land flowing of milk and honey?”
There are many who would share with Habakkuk in complaining, but not so many would listen carefully to God´s answer like him. Somehow we find it easier to complain than to listen. But if we did it the other way round, listening before complaining, our darkness would often be lit up by the answer and understanding God gives.
When Habakkuk begins to catch on to what God is saying, and understand that God is sovereign, even in times of trials and tribulation, when waves go high and winds roar, he changes from complaints and questions to awe, and prayer. And when he does a new understanding comes to him. The facts are the same, but the message history brings him, is that God’s so much higher than the enemy and the circumstances Habakkuk is wrestling against. All of a sudden the enemy invaders are no longer frightening and the famine’s not so appalling. There’s hope!
And when hope breaks the hopelessness Habakkuk looks higher than the circumstances, faces other things than the enemies, and begins to sing and shout: “Though I see the hardships, see the enemies, yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour!”
God does never want us to deny facts, or deceive ourselves by painting the picture brighter than it is. But He wants us to listen to His view of the situation, and give us His assurance that He’s greater than our enemies. And when we come around to His perspective we begin to rejoice in the Lord. And the more we rejoice, the more our new assurance will express itself in shouting: ‘The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights’ (Habakkuk 3:19). All this in spite of what you see around you, in spite of the mess this world presents!
May this be your experience!
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