Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Complaining to God

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Note – This is a guest blog by Tammy Pence, my wife.  She loves to sing, so has inserted links to songs, etc. for you along the way, and has put in bold print verses that would be great to memorize.
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Have you ever had a spiritual crisis of faith?  Have you ever heard of the book of Habakkuk in the Bible?  Who names a kid Habakkuk?  Who knew that ol’ Huck’s story could help us in this time of coronavirus crisis, or any time of doubt and need?

Habakkuk is struggling with questions of faith, so he takes them in prayer to God; His covenant God is the only one that can answer him.  He is weighed down by this broken world, but persists in prayer even when it seemed God was not listening.  Huck says that’s he’s going to stand at his watchpost/tower and wait for an answer from God to his seemingly hopeless situation.  Huck’s a bit sassy, isn’t he?

COMPLAINTS

“Are my prayers stopping at the ceiling?  Do you hear me God?” “Why does evil seem to go unpunished?  Seems like nasty wicked people are prospering and ruling!”  “Is there no justice?”  And maybe even, “are you sovereign and in control?”  “Are you indifferent?”  “CAN YOU HEAR ME, GOD!”

Fill in the blank with your own complaints and questions. __________________

GOD’S ANSWERS

  1. God bends down low to hear the laments of His children.  (Psalm 116:1-2)
  2. In Habakkuk Chapter 1 verse 5 God says in my paraphrase – you can’t even dream or imagine how I’m already at work!

“Look among the nations, and see;
    wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
    that you would not believe if told.

  1. In 2:14 God says that not only does He have a plan for Huck’s current situation, but He has a BIG HUGE plan and purpose for His whole creation!  [This is called metanarrative – an overarching account or interpretation of events and circumstances that provides a pattern or structure for people’s beliefs and gives meaning to their experiences.]  So… while we’re asking questions, Question 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith asks, “What is the chief end of man?”  Now THAT’S a whopper question!  The answer is “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”    You can put to bed wondering why you’re here and what your purpose is.

For the earth will be filled
    with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

  1. We don’t know how long Huck waited in his watchtower, but in Chapter 2 God tells him to “wait for the appointed time; it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” God’s timing is perfect.

So… God hears my prayers and asks me to wait for His perfect timing in His wise plans and purposes.  This leads us to the question, “NOW what do we do”?

OUR RESPONSE

How do we continue to trust in God and cling to His promises, even in the darkest days?

  1. Don’t forget who it is you are addressing your complaints to!

In 2:13 God calls Himself the LORD of hosts.  Yahweh is the commander of the heavenly armies, all of which do His bidding.  Whom shall I fear?

In 2:18 we learn that humans trust in their own creation and love to make speechless idols.  God’s response?

“But the Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before him.”

The ESV Study Bible notes say that “The glory of the LORD is His special presence with His people, especially at the sanctuary.”  We look forward to the day when God’s glory fills the whole earth.

Regarding the second part of that verse, “Silence is commanded so that everyone will consider God’s awesome nature and realize his sovereignty over all creation.”  Take a minute to let that sink in.

  1. In 2:4 we get the phrase “but the righteous shall live by his faith.”  A steadfast reliance on the Lord, a trust that perseveres.  So how do we do this?  How do we submit our minds and wills, not knowing the future?  Remind yourself of what you know about God from what He’s revealed about Himself in the Scriptures.  Huck uses the covenant name for God – LORD or Yahweh (Click on this link to learn more about what this means).  Huck calls God his Rock and Holy One and knows that God is from everlasting (1:12) and sees everything: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

In Chapter 3 Huck remembers and sings about God’s mighty acts in the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and God’s powerful presence at Mount Sinai.  I love that he’s preaching to himself about God riding on His horses, on His chariot of salvation.  God has absolute power and dominion over the forces of nature and history, and we can rest in knowing that HE holds the future.  I can’t control my circumstances, but our mighty, all-knowing, all powerful wise God is in control.   Aahh…. Deep breath….

FROM COMPLAINING TO JOY

So, can you feel Huck’s transformation from hopeless distress to being awed by God’s majesty and therefore trusting that God knows best?  WOW!  Have his earthly circumstances changed?  NO.  But now God is his strength and hope, and with trusting Him comes great joy.  He submits to God’s wisdom, sovereignty and lovingkindness, and quietly waits and hopes for future grace based on God’s character and past deeds.

“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.”  (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 39 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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