Monday, August 30, 2010

Habakkuk: By the way, O Sovereign Lord, your plan doesn't make sense.

When I was a little girl, before I could write very well, I told stories by drawing pictures.  I starred in most of my stories, and I wore a princess gown, like Cinderella.  (You don't have to draw legs when you draw princess gowns.)  And so began a tradition of writing and imagining the story of my life.  And the stories of the people closest to me.

Real life doesn't normally follow the storyline I have imagined.  And so when I talk to God, I talk about the problems, but I try not to hope for too much, not to ask for too much, to take whatever God sends my way.  Essentially I'm afraid he'll say "no" and I'll be disappointed.

Or he'll say, "This is what I'm doing" and I'll be shocked or fearful.  Like when I told him I my job frustrated me and I didn't like it very much.  And then I confessed I didn't really want to have to work.  (I still may find a job, and if I do, I'll probably like it.)

And here's the story of Habbakuk.  He's crying out to God, begging for revival.  And God says, "Okay.  This is what I'm going to do.  I'm going to send your enemies, and they're going to take you into exile, and then your people will begin to seek me again.  And then I'll punish your enemies and send your people home again."

And Habbakuk, is like, "Say what?  That's not a very good plan.  And it's totally not fair.  Those people are worse than we are."

You remember that basically the people of Israel and Judah have completely turned away from following the Lord.  They're worshiping idols, having sex as part of idol worship, and sacrificing their newborn children.  And they've totally forgotten God's promise to bless them if they put him first.

And so if the Babylonians are worse then the people of God, that's pretty bad.
And Habbakuk asks, "Really God?  Really?  Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

The thing is, God absolutely knows what he's doing.  And the more Habbakuk engages God in questions, asking and challenging him, listening to his responses, the more he trusts God's plan.

Until finally he says,

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.

In other words, no matter that happens, no matter how bad things look, I trust you.  I will rejoice in you.  I will worship you.  Because you are God.  You are my strength.  You are my joy.

We all have questions.  God, when are you going to answer my prayers? When you are going to fix the situation I'm in?  Are you sure you know what you're doing?

God doesn't reject us for our questions.  In fact, like Habakkuk, the more we ask, the more we listen, the more we trust him and the more we worship him.  The more we rely on his sovereign plans.  He really does know what he's doing.  Even if, from our vantage point, he doesn't make sense.

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