We have copies of an anguished prayer from about 600 B.C. In it, the writer cries out, “How long, LORD, must I call for help but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2 NIV)
I appreciate Habakkuk’s honesty. I recognize his longing for justice. It is good to have a tender, compassionate heart, but it can be painful. If we are not careful we can become overwhelmed. Then instead of spreading faith and hope, we become bearers of despair.
This prophet was honest and he stayed connected with God until he had an answer. What an amazing answer it was . . . though God clearly said such a big answer would take time to be fulfilled. Habakkuk had to look ahead. God said, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time: it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it: it will certainly come. It will not delay.” (Hab. 2:3)
God warned him that in human eyes it might feel stalled, but it was unstoppable—nothing could even slow it down. Habakkuk’s task was to believe, to wait on God and to carry the message to others. (Hab. 2:2-4)
In fact, God said the fulfillment had started already. Habakkuk had to look further out: “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” (Hab. 1:5)
God is good. He cares. He responds. He is working in multiple ways and in multiple places to build a comprehensive answer. But moving humans and circumstances on that scale requires time.
We choose what we focus on. Are we looking for the great things God is doing even now? We may go in to prayer wringing our hands . . . but may our goal be to leave with a fresh vision from God so we walk convinced of His good intervention in our world. We trust His goodness and we are filled with hope.