In the world of patience, I’m not really sure where I stand. In some ways, I can be pretty patient. When Chris and I occasionally play a game of ping-pong, the only chance I have to win against Chris’s ambidextrous spin-moves and spikes is to be steady and patient and wait for him to make a mistake.
On the other hand, there are many situations where I see others take a step back and wait patiently to see how something unfolds while I fly into “solution” mode. I’m full speed ahead and completely impatient. This is especially true when I see someone being treated unkindly or unfairly. And goodness knows, I turn into “beast” mode if it involves my family!
With my children now grown into young adults, I often can’t fix their problems directly and my form of being involved means I pray and wait. So, when I turned to Habakkuk 1 this week, I had a few things on my mind that have been long, long time prayers that I’ve lifted up for my children. In Habakkuk 1:2, the prophet asks a question that all of us have asked in a moment of frustration…
“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?”
And how much can you relate to this thought that Habakkuk contemplated:
“Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?”
Maybe in 2021, it sounds more like this: “God, why aren’t you doing anything???”
What I love about this portion of Habakkuk is that it articulates a feeling that almost every believer has experienced. From the description, I imagine Habakkuk voicing his frustration and then crossing his arms and waiting to see God’s next move. Fortunately, God’s move is right on time and provides an answer:
“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.
… but the righteous shall live by his faith.”
Habakkuk 2:3, 4b
I don’t know what you’re waiting on, but don’t let delay bring doubt. Habakkuk was written in the context of waiting on the judgment of enemies. But I think the entirety of scripture supports the idea that delays don’t equal defeat in other categories of prayer, either. God’s timing is seldom our timing. If what you’re waiting on is a burden that God put there, you can rest. Wait for it. God doesn’t play the short game. He isn’t in a hurry and nor does He panic. He knows exactly when justice will be served. He knows exactly the measure of mercy and discipline, judgment and relenting.
There’s something about being a child of God that should distinguish us from people who don’t believe – we should have some faith. We should hold on to the Word of God and His perfect promise-keeping character and not throw up our hands when we can’t see the solution. From experience, this faith part in the wait is harder than it sounds. But I challenge you to keep exercising your muscle of faith each day, so when you’re in the waiting, you hold steady until His perfect timing… it will surely come.