“While standing guard on the watchtower, I waited for the Lord’s answer, before explaining the reason for my complaint. Then the Lord told me: ‘I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance. At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting it will happen! I, the Lord, refuses to accept anyone who is proud. Only those who live by faith are acceptable to me,’” Habakkuk 2:1-4.
In the book of Habakkuk, the prophet Habakkuk has a problem with God’s tolerance of the wicked. As the eighth minor prophet of the 12, He complained to God, “How long must I call for help, but you do not listen? Cry out to you but you do not answer?” Habakkuk is known as one of the prophets that questions the Sovereign God. In chapter one the prophet asks God: “How long must I beg for your help before you listen? How long before you save us from all this violence? Why do you make me watch such terrible injustice? Why do you allow violence, lawlessness, crime, and cruelty to spread everywhere? Laws cannot be enforced; justice is always the loser; criminals crowd out honest people and twist the laws around. How long Lord, and why?
“How long shall I cry for help and you will not hear? How long shall I cry to you and you will not answer me? What have I done for you not to give me a word or help me? What? I need to know. I need to know!”
Habakkuk is quoting Psalm 13:1-2: “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? How long?”
The prophet is learning that true faith often finds oneself perplexed at God. As the faithful, we do not have all the answers. We go to the Lord for the answers, for a word. We cry for help and the Lord will not answer. We are living by faith and God will not answer. We’re worshiping God and He will not answer. We’re praying day and night, giving, helping and no answer. Why Lord why?
Even the angels have asked how long. “Then the angel of the Lord said, Lord of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these 70 years?” Zechariah 1:12.
How long Lord, how long? As the faithful, we might think something is wrong or that we are thinking inappropriately when we have these kinds of questions concerning God’s help. He does not respond, and we are perplexed.
Even Job cried out for God’s help: “Behold, I cry out, but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice,” Job 19:7.
How will I receive this ‘revelation knowledge’ if God won’t answer me or talk to me? Habakkuk shows us that we can have an honest conversation with God because God can handle our raw emotions and our raw thoughts. Yes, he can handle it. This is why He is the Sovereign God. He can do whatever He likes, when He likes. He can handle us, for He created us. We are not too hard for God. “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27.
God says ‘I can handle your raw emotions and your raw thoughts. It’s okay if you come to me this way.’ It’s okay to ask God what is going on. It is appropriate to turn to God in prayer and tell Him that we do not understand. There are many events in life where we just don’t understand what is happening. Habakkuk talks to God about these things: the violence, the terrible injustice, the lawlessness and crime that is spreading everywhere. He talks to God about it. He does not leave God or turn away from God. He just goes to God.
So often when trials come in and crush our lives, we end up turning away from God or leaving God. We simply give up on God rather than going to God. You can tell Him what you are experiencing; you can tell Him about the pain you are having; you can tell Him about how perplexed you are. Honesty with God is important in developing our faith and relationship with Him.
We are not going to grow in our faith in the Lord if we are not honest with our thoughts and feelings before God. He wants you to come to Him the way you are whether mad, upset, not knowing, or with a heavy heart. Just come to me, says the Lord.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.