Summary: In this lesson we learn how to wait for God’s answer to our problems.
Let’s continue with the third message in our series titled, “Making Sense of Today’s News.” Let us read Habakkuk 2:1-3:
1 I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
2 Then the Lord replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay."
It was everyone’s nightmare. At 15,000 feet Edmund Gravely died at the controls of his small plane. He and his wife were on their way to Statesboro, Georgia, from the Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport in North Carolina. His wife, Janice, did not know how to fly. But she managed to keep the plane in the air for two hours.
During that time period she continually radioed for help. Several Air Traffic Controllers heard her screaming, “Help! Help! Won’t someone help me? My husband and pilot is unconscious.”
But there was a serious problem keeping her from getting help, a problem she didn’t even realize. Although the authorities could hear her distress calls, they weren’t able to reach her by radio. Why? Because she kept changing the channels. She wouldn’t wait long enough at any channel for a response from a Controller.
Amazingly, Janice Gravely survived the crash, although she had to crawl for forty-five minutes to a farmhouse to find help.
Waiting is one of the hardest things to do in life. Especially during a time of crisis. No one likes to wait. The word “wait” has got to be the Christian’s four letter word. Wouldn’t you rather do anything than wait? In fact, some would rather do the wrong thing than wait.
Most of you have heard the American Prayer: “Lord, give me patience—and I want it right now!” It’s hard for people who live on frozen dinners, instant breakfasts, and microwave cakes to wait!
The famous New England preacher of a previous century, Phillips Brooks, was known for not handling waiting too well. One day a friend saw him pacing the floor like a caged lion and asked him, “Dr. Brooks, what is the trouble?” Brooks responded, “The trouble is that I am in a hurry, but God is not!”
Waiting seems to me to be the rule rather than the exception in life. The exception is an open door; when you have one—go! But the truth is that just doesn’t happen very often! The bursts of green lights seem to happen for just a few short moments in life. The rest of the time is filled with yellow lights, and mostly red lights that continually flash, “Wait! Wait! Wait!”
Habakkuk knew, like few others, what it meant to wait on God. Like all of us, during the tough times in life, he was very tempted to switch the channels. But he resisted that temptation, and in doing so set before us a model worthy of our study.
As you may recall in our first study of this book, Habakkuk was very disturbed. The people of Judah had wandered away from the Lord. Wickedness and gross immorality marked their lives. Habakkuk’s heart was broken over it. And so he prayed fervently for God to bring change. But nothing happened! The heavens were silent! In our first message we saw that God’s ways are often mysterious and also that God’s ways are often misunderstood.
In our second lesson we saw that God finally broke that silence—but when he did, what he told Habakkuk actually made matters worse for the prophet. God said that he was going to send the wicked Babylonians to judge the people of Judah. Such a response from God just didn’t make sense to the prophet. Why would God use a nation far more wicked than Judah to correct his people? And so Habakkuk wrestled with his problem.
Last week I gave you a procedure for dealing with problems. I said that there are four steps in dealing with problems. When dealing with problems, we must pray: (1) pause to think, (2) restate basic principles, (3) apply the principles to the problem, and (4) yield the problem to God in faith, if still in doubt.
Habakkuk had applied the first three steps to his problem but he was still stuck. So, as I promised you last week, today I am developing step (4): if still in doubt about what God is doing, if still in doubt about how to proceed with a particular problem, yield the problem to God in faith. Today, let us see how Habakkuk did that.