*We are journeying through the book of Habakkuk in a series of posts this month. This is the second post of three.*
As I read Habakkuk 2, there were two phrases that stayed with me -
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
Habakkuk 2:3-4 NKJV
I thought about the connection between waiting and faith and how our life on earth pretty much consists of such seasons. We can never claim to be experts at waiting or being faith-ful. Yet as we walk this road, we can learn to recognise the signs and be better prepared when those times seem endless.
I am currently in a season of waiting so reading through this passage was particularly comforting. Looking at these verses in a little more detail, I found some lovely nuggets of wisdom that I'd like to share with you all.
Seasons of waiting fill us with unpleasant questions about the character of God. We wonder if He really promised what He said. We doubt His word because we don't see any change. For me personally, I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for God’s specific promise to come to pass. And I cannot even count the number of times I go through the cycle of doubting God - I may not exactly call Him a liar but I would definitely flirt with the possibility that I might have not have understood His word correctly or perhaps that was not what He meant. But as Habakkuk was told clearly - 'For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie'. Habakkuk 2:3 (NKJV), God’s word does not lie. He is the Truth. What He says He will fulfil. My problem with that is only what I consider to be the delay. Which leads me to the second nugget.
Habakkuk 2:3 in the English Standard Version says, ‘...it will surely come; it will not delay’. I have heard so many messages on God’s timing and His ways yet until recently I did not make the (logical) connection that there was an appointed time for every word of God. He is not a God who speaks inanities. Every single word has meaning and a specific time that He has decreed for it to be accomplished. Nothing happens by chance or coincidence. And more importantly, there is no wasted time!
This was a huge learning for me especially in this season of waiting. I was stressing because of what I saw as an unnecessary delay that was keeping me from doing what God wanted me to accomplish. Until I saw that the "delay" was part of His plan. This was His perfect will for me. This was how the promise He had given me was being fulfilled. It was all ordained. This season of waiting was chipping away at my defences, slowly transforming me into His likeness. This was not wasted time; not by any means! This was precious minutes and hours and days and years of building my character, altering my priorities, and stiffening my faith. I was being taught to wait with hope which is ultimately what faith is all about!
Habakkuk 2:4 says, '...the just shall live by his faith'. Faith in God in the waiting is a stamp of approval. God loves and accepts us because of that relationship of faith in Jesus. He is not looking for grand actions or sacrifices. The following story is told about Martin Luther in the Enduring Word commentary -
"Before his bold declaration of the truth of the gospel, Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk. As a monk, he went on a pilgrimage to Rome and as he crossed the Alps he fell deathly ill. As he lay sick he felt great turmoil, both physical and spiritual, and a verse that had previously touched him came to mind: 'The just shall live by his faith', from Romans 1:17 and Habakkuk 2:4. When Luther recovered he went on to Rome and did the tourist things that all the pilgrims did. One day he came to the church of Saint John’s Lateran, where there is a staircase said to be from Pilate’s judgment hall. It was the custom of pilgrims to climb this staircase, but never on their feet – they painfully climbed a step at a time on their knees, saying prayers and kissing the steps where it was thought the blood of Jesus fell. Luther came to this place and started doing just as all the pilgrims did because the pope promised an indulgence to all who climbed the steps on their knees and said the prayers. As he did this, Luther remembered the words from Romans, quoting Habakkuk: The just shall live by his faith. It is said that when he remembered this he stopped, stood up, walked down and went straight home to Germany. Some say the Reformation began on those stairs."
Faith is the beginning of living life in all its abundance. Of course the biblical view of an abundant life is quite upside down in comparison to the world's. As Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) says, 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen'. Our faith and life is built on intangible truth. Seasons of waiting help us develop that muscle - of believing (and living and thriving) in the things hoped for and things not seen.
Today if you are going through a season of waiting, I invite you to take comfort and also view this time with a fresh perspective. I encourage you to wait with joyful hope. Because you're not only in good Hands but you're also in excellent company (read Hebrews 11 for the roll call!)