I've always wanted the faith........and, consequently, the HOPE of the minor prophet, Habakkuk.
My heart has a deep "want" to declare right along with the man words similar to his summarizing song:
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.
Those are some beautiful words!
I've sat with them numerous times and re-written them to fit my circumstances, but by the time I finish, I know I'm not entirely truthful.
While the "want" is there, getting my reality to match the desire is another story entirely.
Heart may be in it, but the spirit hasn't quite gotten to the place of agreement.
Basically Habakkuk's saying, "Although my life is falling apart around me, and the waves of circumstance are threatening to sink my boat of faith, I will not give in to doubt and despair. In fact, I will be joyful!"
I know me too well.
When circumstances crash about me, my attitude doesn't look at all like Habakkuk's.
- It's obvious, the man is calm, contented, and at peace.
- He comes across as assured.
- While not "happy," his heart is filled with joy.
- He has an attitude of gratitude.
- He has risen above the hard-stuff to a "high place" where he communes with the Lord intimately.
Nope, that is NOT my initial response.
It may not even be my third, thirtieth or tree-hundredth, either.
So, I dug into this little book over the course of the week.
After all, the verses I just printed, those are Habakkuk's final words before the "THE END".
There was a process that brought Habakkuk to that place.
It's recorded in the rest of the book.
As I read, I started feeling a bit better.
Maybe, just maybe, there is a chance I could borrow Habakkuk's roadmap, and get to that place of praise, "in spite of," a whole lot faster.
Here's the first thing I learned.
The secret to hope is found in Habakkuk's name.
BUT FIRST...as the book begins, we learn that H. is given an "oracle" from the Lord.
As a prophet, he is supposed to pass on this oracle to the rest of his congregation.
I looked up what the word "oracle" meant...it comes from a Hebrew noun, "masa" meaning " a burden."
God expects Habakkuk to carry the weight of a heavy burden...a message that is about to rock the world of his people. A message of despair, death, and captivity. A hard message.
The Israelites are about to be overthrown by the most vicious warring people of all time; and, it's all part of God's plan.
The flood of bad circumstances will be overwhelming...and relentless.
But, Habakkuk is true to his name.
The meaning of his name? "To wrestle; or, to embrace."
Now, there's a dichotomy.
Yet, Habakkuk does just that.
Like Jacob, Habakkuk does some wrestling with God.
Unlike Jacob, who wrestled physically, H. does so verbally.
Like Jacob, Habakkuk clings tightly to the Lord until he is blessed.
He wrestles with questions until he gets the clarity he needs.
He wrestles until he is able to finally embrace what God is asking of him.
Having a 3:17-19 attitude starts with wrestling.
It begins with questions.
It's origin is found in the seeking, the inquiring, and the hanging-on until there is clarity and peace-of-mind.
Surprisingly, the Lord lets him wrestle away....
I wondered why...
Then, it dawned on me.
Habakkuk isn't asking in accusation.
He's not questioning God's character.
He simply wants understanding.
The best part of all is that the Lord gives Habakkuk what he wants...answers.
The road to HOPE in the middle of wave after wave of HARD begins with the wrestling.
Don't be afraid to come to God with your questions.
Don't be afraid to cling tightly to the Lord until He blesses you.
Wrestle until you are able to embrace God's plan based on the understanding He brings.
Dare to wrestle your way to HOPE.
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