Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

1.07.2011

The Man Who Had a Conversation With God


This great man, do you know him?  He who has appeared before kings and rulers is in his small, darkened room, prostrate upon the floor. Desperation is upon him; frustration has burdened him down, and he is asking the question of our day. “Why, God?”

On his face, weeping tears of discouragement and sorrow, his mind cannot let go of his question. For so many years, the nation has been full of apostasy, materialism, and idolatry. For so many years, God had been ignored and forgotten and rejected. And then, into this blackness had come a revival of mighty proportions, for God sent a godly leader. Worship had been restored—people were actually hearing the Word of God again! And this weeping man of God had rejoiced and basked in the warmth of the light of God.

And suddenly, all was dark again.
The leader: dead.
The new leader: depraved.
The people: evil.
The foreign empires: greedy and strong.
The future: exceedingly grim.
And God: silent.
This man reached the end of human hope on this dark day, and as the rain streams outside and the people run to do their evil, he is alone and isolated. He cannot help but ask God, “Why?”

“O Lord,” he whispers. “How long shall I cry, and You will not hear?”

There is no sound but the icy splatter of raindrops.

Every word the man of God voices is more fraught with anguish than the last, and every phrase is a crescendo louder than the one before it. “I even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ and You will not save. Why do You show me all of this sin and put all this trouble in front of me?”

Silence still.

“The law is powerless, and justice is nonexistent. The wicked surround the righteous, and corrupt judgment continues unhindered!”

But suddenly, the man is alone with his sorrow no more. Suddenly, there is no more silence, and the sounds of the people’s evil are utterly drowned out. Suddenly, his tears are not unnoticed, and he is lifted up off his face in amazement, for God is answering him, speaking to him, and His voice is real and deep and rich.

“Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.”

The man’s eyes well up with tears once again, but tears of joy, and his heart is full. At long last, God—Yahweh is here, and righteousness will triumph!

“For indeed,” the Lord continues, “I am raising up your enemies, a bitter and hasty nation…to possess your land. They are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. Their army is swift and fierce.”

The man of God felt all the breath go out of him, and confusion dizzied him for a moment. What? After so long a silence, during which he had been begging God to right the wrongs, purify the nation, and return his people to their righteousness, this is God’s solution? To send the most wicked nation in the world to conduct God’s judgment on them, the most righteous nation in the world by comparison?

But the Lord continues to describe the nation who would march against them:“They all come for violence; their faces are set like the east wind. They gather captives like sand. They scoff at kings, and princes are scorned by them.”

The man cannot help it. He has to cry out, to give voice to his bewilderment. “Are You not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed these enemies for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?”

The man’s mind is reeling as he pours out his heart to God, inquiring why God would use such a notoriously wicked and cruel nation to judge his people, who were not nearly so wicked! “Shall they…continue to slay nations without pity? I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what God will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.”

And the Lord did indeed answer. “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by faith.”

Yes, the enemy is more wicked than this man’s nation. Yes, the enemy is cold-blooded and vicious. But as God continues to speak, He promises that the very things in which this enemy trusted would be its downfall, and they would face judgment. Meanwhile, it is not in his own control over situations that this man should trust. It is not in his own political pull, or skill at diplomacy, or rational and reasonable good works that he and his nation would live. In those, he could exist, but it was only by faith that he could win empires, overhthrow wicked thrones, kneel with a man giving his life to God, start a reformation. And change history.

“The Lord is in His holy temple,” God concludes. “Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

And there was silence for a moment, as the greatest wrestling match of his life went on in our leader’s heart. He had just been pummeled with the foretelling of unheard of judgment, and was forced to the realization that God was not going to bring a great revival without cost. But, oh, the cost! Was it worth it?

And suddenly, like captures of moments gone by sliding before his eyes, he remembers everything. He remembers the plagues of Egypt, and the parting of the Red Sea, and the waters of the Jordan River moving aside for his ancestors. He remembers—miracle of miracles!—how the sun and moon stood still that day and gave Israel the victory. And he looks ahead, and sees devastation like no devastation yet experienced. And he must admit, “God, when I heard, my body trembled; my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered my bones; and I trembled in myself.”

But none of that really matters any more, does it? The wrestling match is over. His mouth is set, his eyes are glinting with determination and valor. And his voice—his voice is the voice of a leader, confident and sure of one thing. “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation. Yahweh is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”

And there we leave Habakkuk for now, standing in his small, darkened room. But there is no more silence. The room is still full of the conversation that would change Israel, and six hundred years later would reveal righteousness to a man named Paul, and 2,000 years later would change the world yet again when a man by the name of Luther would read it for himself. Habakkuk just had a conversation that would change his life, his destiny, his nation, and the history of the world. Habakkuk just had a conversation with God.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: Bill Hicks

6 comments:

  1. Lauren, I always love your re-telling of a Biblical story. Your talent for looking at it in a new light is very refreshing!

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  2. I love your blog, Lauren and Mikaela!
    Keep up the good work. :)

    Many Blessings in Christ,
    Moriah

    www.uniquelyfashionedforhisglory.blogspot.com

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  3. Wow... again, I thought you were talking about modern-day for the longest time. It was the Habbakuk that set me straight. :)

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  4. Have I told you before that your writing is exquisite? I think so, but just because I can, I'll tell you again.

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  5. DebbieLynne--Indeed,on the one hand it is sobering to realize how much we can effect by simply being people of God and also to contemplate that God may mercifully be preparing judgment for America. However, isn't it wonderful that we can at the same time rejoice greatly in those things because our loving God is in control?
    Sarah--You're so sweet! Believe me, though--it's not my talent; I'm just excited to share what God has taught me! (-;
    Moriah--Thank you so much for your encouraging comment and for following! God bless!
    Ben--Oh good--that's perfect! Don't you think it sad that Habbakuk isn't a modern-day name? (-;
    Elyse--Your comment brought such a smile to my face! How incredibly sweet of you! I must say that I have been blessed with exquisite teachers and encouragers in my parents!

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