“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
3 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.
If it seems slow?
Really?? If? Because it certainly does. Seem slow that is.
I’m not a patient waiter.
I get antsy. I get restless. I am restless. I am antsy.
I am, tired.
This passage in Habakkuk is God, speaking to Habakkuk. In response to Habakkuk’s complaint. Actually, in response to his second complaint. Which, in and of itself, is quite interesting, Habakkuk’s complaining. But maybe I’ll address that later.
The “vision” that God is referring to here, according to my handy-dandy Logos software, is the coming judgement. Ok, that makes sense, when you read through Habakkuk’s complaints. His cries for rescue from sin and evil. His cries for justice.
And, isn’t it interesting that Habakkuk was told, by God, to write down the vision–the prophecy–that God gives regarding “what” God will do, in response. The coming judgement of Judah. The coming punishment of the Babylonians.
Maybe he told Habakkuk to write it down, so they wouldn’t forget. So they wouldn’t forget when God’s promise wasn’t fulfilled in the next hour, the next week, the next month, the next year. The next decade.
I am so tired.
The things I, personally, am “supposedly” waiting for (cliche, cliche, cliche!) are not nearly as important as the things Habakkuk is complaining against God about. The things I am waiting for are so petty. So trivial. So selfish.
So much so, that they hardly seem worth God’s time, really. There are things much more worthy of prayer and of His attention. There are wars. There is famine. There is on-going abuse. There is sickness.
What is man, that you are mindful of him?
And yet here I sit and shout my own complaints to (against?) God. Pale, shallow, embarrassing, selfish complaints. Loneliness. Making “ends meet”, whatever that means. Unbelief. Cynicism. Anger. Absence of awareness of His presence. Empty study. Isolating Depression. Those relentless, damnable nightmares.
Desire for home.
Pathetic. All, so very, very selfish. Why should He see, know, hear, act?
Who am I, that you are mindful of me?
And yet, here I also sit and shout my own complaints to (against?) God about things that really DO matter. Fear for my children. Intervention for the homeless I have met in recent weeks. Rescue for Christians who are facing beheadings. The end of all manners of abuse, even spiritual abuse. Healing from deadly illnesses for friends.
And yet, when is the appointed time for the fulfillment of what we read? Of what is preached from the pulpit, Sunday after Sunday? Of what is written about in book after book after mind-numbing book? When, God?
We comfort ourselves by saying “God’s time is not our time” and “God operates outside of time”; and these things do have truth within them I suppose. But God is also the creator of time. He is not only the one who established the rotation of the earth and our orbit around the sun, creating 24 hour days and planting and harvesting and winter and summer cycles, He is the one who created the sun and the earth in the first place so that time could be established.
And thus, 2000 years is a very, very long time.
“If it seems slow?” Yes.
And so, the writers of scripture cry out “How Long?” Over and over again. Definitely in the Psalms. Repeatedly in the Psalms. Elsewhere as well. Maybe not always in those exact words, maybe not always in the brevity of “How Long, O God”, but it is there, scattered throughout.
And, that same cry is also heard, today.
It’s in the words poured out in blog posts two weeks ago after the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians. It’s in the prayers of an adult child, sitting day in and day out by their dying parent. It’s in the cries of the persecuted church. It’s in the prayers of those desperately in need of an answer. It’s in the prayers of a pastor as he stands to preach week in, week out. Week in, week out. It’s in the pleading of those working relentlessly for the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, the abused.
It’s in my prayers, too. My selfish, petty, pathetic, embarrassing, unworthwhile “complaints”.
How long, O God, How long?
If it seems slow, wait for it.
I’m trying. We’re trying.
O, God, help me believe the last part. The part that says “it will surely come, it will not delay.” The part that says that you see, you know, and you act.
And what about the part that should make me join Habakkuk in his words found in 3:18…….that even if these things don’t happen, yet, yet, yet I will rejoice?
Yet. I am failing. I am so, very, completely, failing.
Help my unbelief. I am, we are, so tired.
What other choice is there?