O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and You will not hear? Or cry to You "Violence!" and you will not save? ... And the LORD answered me: "Write the vision; make it plain ... For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end -- it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. ... The righteous shall live by his faith." Habakkuk: 1:2; 2:2a-3, 4b
Why wait? We are an impatient people aren't we? We can't seem to find the strength to wait for anything today. When we want something, we've got to have it right now. I remember several years ago, when I was a pastor leading a congregation, I decided to do a little experiment about waiting. Usually, the congregation would sing a hymn or sing a song right before the sermon, and I would step back into the sacristy, out of sight, to prayerfully get ready to preach the message for that day. Usually, while they were singing the last verse, I would emerge from the room and take my place in the pulpit. That way when they were done singing, I was ready to start preaching. You know, no wasted time at all: one thing finishes, another thing ready to go. And they were used to that kind of promptness too. So, on this day I stayed out of sight. I didn't come out of the room. I took 30 seconds to emerge and take my place before my people. And boy was it good that I did because there were already sending elders to come to check on me. There were people worried; others fidgeting, and others wondering why I was taking so long. And folks, it was only 30 seconds. Actually, I think it was even a bit shorter than that.
We don't like to wait, especially when we have expectations. We don't like to wait, especially if we think that we deserve something, that we should have something already. We're a "take matters into our own hands" type of people, for good and for ill. And we don't like to wait for things when justice is involved, when pain must be overcome. We want satisfaction: relief now.
Well, that kind of living can get you and me in a lot of trouble, especially if we are unwilling to wait on the Lord, to trust in His Word when things don't seem to be going as they should. That's what's going on in the verses from the prophet Habakkuk today. Habakkuk knew the people of God were living in rebellion to God's ways and that they should be punished, but why did God have to do it through an even more evil nation like the Babylonians. The prophet couldn't make heads or tails of what God was up to.
Have you ever felt like that? Are there times when God seems to be silent when you are yearning for a clear word from Him about what you are facing? Are there moments when you wonder if things will ever get better in your life or in this world? Well, today, learn the lesson from Habakkuk who lays it on the line saying, "The just will live by faith!" That's right -- by faith -- trusting in God alone because He is the One who can be trusted, even when things don't seem right at the time; trusting in God, yes, even when we find ourselves waiting on Him.
In a world that is hell-bent on racing to the next thing with lightning speed, and impatiently unwilling to wait for anything, even if the waiting is the right thing to do, Habakkuk reminds us to wait on the Lord with faith, to trust Him in the meantime, and to follow Him in His Word, no matter what, because He promises deliverance and He always fulfills His promises to His people! Why wait? Well, with the Lord you can wait and see because you won't believe what's ultimately coming for those who trust in Him!
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to trust in Your Word, in Your promises, especially when things appear to be out of sorts. And, give me strength to always wait on You with faith! Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"