Imagine reading a book to your child and in the middle of the story, closing the book, and having your child try to write the ending. How would it go? The chances are they would not write the same ending.
Now think about life. How many of us wish we could take over sovereign control over how everything is going? Most of us do! Of course, God gives us plenty of liberties to make choices and be responsible for ourselves and what we do have control over. Yet, there are so many things that are just beyond our control.
How do we respond when things are out of our control?
We have to wait on God’s response without filling in the blanks.
Habakkuk 1 shows the prophet Habakkuk go through two rounds of complaints. The first complaint is, in essence: “God, do you even know or care about what is happening?” The Lord responds that He does and that He is way ahead of Habakkuk with a plan. The problem is that it is not the plan Habakkuk wanted to hear. So, Habakkuk complains again, but this time it is questioning God’s plan directly (a bold move!). But there is still reverence in how he does it. Verses 13-14 show Habakkuk recounting some of God’s attributes; like His eternal nature, purity of character, and even being the “Rock” that is constant.
Habakkuk models for us what it looks like to be apprehensive without being arrogant. He held on to God’s character as the only constant that he could count on during those changing and confusing times. And we can do the same. Habakkuk had faith that God was going to respond. We can have that same faith. So what did he do? He got comfortable in the discomfort! He settled himself at his watch station and was determined to wait for God’s wisdom.
I will climb up to my watchtower
and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the Lord says
and how He will answer my complaint. (Habakkuk 2:1)
For all we know it could have been weeks or months before God responded. Whether coincidental or not, Habakkuk’s name appropriately describes the meaning of his prophetic book. The Hebrew root (ḥābaq) means “to embrace.” Habakkuk had to embrace the tension he found himself in. Will I be someone who embraces the tension?
Never interpret God’s silence as apathy.
When God is silent, there is always a reason. And even when He is silent, He is still present. We have to learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable times of faith. Because those times will come more than once!
But how does this look, practically speaking?
Habakkuk’s watching and waiting at the watchtower (Habakkuk 2:1) was not a passive posture. It was a stance of attentiveness. He was alert and prepared to hear from God. We could liken this to a feature of prayer when we listen.
Listening implies humility. We do not have all the answers and we are not trying to fill in the blanks on our own. So we watch, wait, and listen.
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! (1 Chronicles 16:11)
In an instant gratification culture such as our own, we have to ask ourselves: Will we wait to hear from God or will we fill in the blanks on our own? What at this time do you need to commit to being tenacious in prayer about?
May we be tenacious about trusting God with the blank spaces that are out of our control. After all, He is good, always.