Habakkuk. A story for today. A story for me...
Habakkuk – A story for today.
Only 4 min…. Listen to the first 2 min
Amazing Grace: a story to sing… start at 33 sec in… to 2:07. Can you sing the story of Jesus?
Habakkuk is a prophet that tells the story of a people in distressing times. This is not the Amazing Grace story of your Grandma… This is a story of corruption, injustice and out of control heathens…. It is a story of a man and his God and an honest cry to understand what is going on and the feeling of abandonment. Of being alone in a wilderness that he doesn’t understand nor feels secure about his future. It is my favorite book in the Bible, and that should tell you much about me….
Hab: 1: 1-4
Question… Are you paying attention? This place is a mess and you seem absent! This lament is honest, heartfelt, direct, an accusation, questioning, nearly angry. Is this how you pray? It is a place of honest conversation with the God of the Universe that you disagree with about how things are going and His management thereof…. Can you put yourself there? Is God approachable? Do you have an idol instead that would not allow you to pray in this manner? Do you know God well enough to be so bold? Or is your God distant and unaware?
Hab:1:5 Behold! Ye among the heathen…. I have a plan that you would not believe, even if I told you…. This is cool because it means “I know who you are. Where you are. What is going on. Who your enemies are, and I have a plan.” This is good stuff, since it deals with the comfort of knowing you are in a place that doesn’t catch God by surprise, or with no ability to deal with it.
Of course, that means you are still there, in pain. In the midst of all that is distressing and filled with the discomforts of what is your “today” problems. Now you have a crisis of faith. Now you are faced with the reality that you are not done. The issue of injustice is here, front and center. All about you are the bad people, the heathens, the corrupt and the wicked, and it is you who are in distress… It is not fair… but is about to get worse…
Hab 1:6. I am raising up the Babylonians… vs 12, You are from everlasting…. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way”… Is this not our cry? Have I not used those words? Have I not lamented that I “was one of the good guys”…. The head and not the tail? The blessed, and not the fool found in Proverbs? I did good. I am a Christian, serving an almighty and righteous King… I am the one that pursues You…. Seeking after your heart with a Holy fervor…. I don’t understand…. And yet
Chp 2:1 “I will stand at my watch… I will wait…”
Chp 2 is detailing the reality that God is not surprised, nor stuck by who the Babylonians are. For they are a tool in his hands. The problem is that of timing and the perception of justice applied. Again, it isn’t fair that I have to sit here and suffer. To be present with this injustice taking place and affecting me….
Lets talk about life a bit. Personally, I can talk to a stick… so I do… often. Randomly God brings people into my path and we chat…and it is seldom a long time before the “story comes out”. Different in detail, but always the same… “It wasn’t supposed to be this way”. I talked to the 34 yr old girl named Jean, she had brain cancer and was dying. Her brother died in a drunk driving crash 2 years before and her parents will have no grandkids… at 50 there was something they were denied the joy of. The telling of stories and showing pictures with their friends at coffee…. But the stories will still be told by their friends…. The Christmas memories and the reality of absence that is there… only one of many stories I have been told.
You see, like Habakkuk, we all believe that this is not right. If you will listen to another, even just a little, there is a story that will show up. If you will ask a couple questions, make eye contact and nod… the story will come forth. But what of yours? It is waiting as well. Perhaps it is behind a veil, and reluctant. Perhaps it is only with tears, to only a special friend or stranger that finds the key, and then it will come out of hiding. I have had those as well. Stories of betrayal and the hot memories of painful remembering… coming from places seldom visited and not wanted, but here they are… now in front of us. On the table, demanding attention. You are not alone, which doesn’t help much. You are in pain, and there is this guy poking at the cold ashes of a past fire that consumed your dreams… I didn’t say this would be easy, or fun… but you’re welcome... and actually I was thinking about my own ash pile of dreams… truely….
And yet… Chapter 2 tells us that the King of the Universe knows all about the betrayal and the cold ashes of our violations past. Dreams consumed too early. Hopes ground into dust and taken by the wind, that get in your eyes and bring the tears, of memories. And Habakkuk gives us permission to cry out. He gives us a pattern to follow. He gives us an example of what we are to believe about our suffering. You see, it is about the nurse that gave the comfort. The friend that brought a meal and a smile. It is about you receiving the gift that was given as you wept tears of bitter sorrows and struggles. If you are the giver, be patient. If you are the one that comes, speak less, for you really don’t know what is being done in the soul of another. Hug, weep if you will, but don’t fix….
There is a thing that is currently going on. It is the one that comes to take a photo of your stillborn child. I had never heard of this until this week. Ponder the distress of having a stillborn child, and perhaps you have had such a case, I simply don’t know, but then in comes a volunteer to take a photo for you to have a memory of… What a gift to give, what a short amount of time allowed. What clothes do you use? What tears are shared. And then they leave. There is an organization for people that do this for others. Special people with lots of stories… Think of not having that picture and the years go by… Amazing people doing the quiet thing, for someone in deep grief… “It wasn’t supposed to be this way”…
When Lightning is in the distant horizon at night during the summer, it is beautiful. When it gets closer, and you know you are counting the seconds, you can hear the snap and feel the thunder in your chest. However, when lightning strikes your porch, you are in shock, and there is fire. Lightning is the phone call, and it is invasive, and you cannot go back to what was…. Your life has changed. Now is not what was, or had been. Life is different now…
Here is an interesting thing though. When lightning strikes, the Oxygen is split into Ozone molecules, and that is the smell of freshness after a summer storm. Until you can smell freshness you are not done healing. After while, sometimes years, tell of the story of the scar and not the wound…. Tell of the ones that came. Tell of their giving, their grace, their presence… speak of the scar, not the wound.
Tell your story with humility and speak of the grace that you found when you were broken and in deep sorrow. Chp 3:16 speaks of the humility of our existence. To be in awe at the magnitude of our Lord… If you are not there yet, you didn’t learn what is needed to be found in the pain of the “now”. Keep going, it is your healing that is going on, not mine. You have time.
Until you can understand the humility of brokenness you only are aware of pain… keep going. You are not done learning. Chp 3:17-19 speak of the patience and the knowing that “his hand is not slack as some consider slackness” and we will wait…. Tell your story when you can speak with authenticity and humbly and with the hope of one that has hope…. Lets end on a high note…
We are going to hear that pain, struggle, humility, redemption, expressed as the singer changes his story from that of ritual and obligation to that of the real story…. Play the rest of the video, the last 2 min.
Watch the face of the guy to the left of the singer… he has been to that place. His face shows that he knows the story that is borne of having gone to a place that teaches such wisdom, and you will know, in that place of which we know things, the difference.
You know it when you hear it… and so do those you are near…. Look at the faces of those that are witness to it… Deep, powerful and true…
Tell your story. Be authentic. Be real…. Jesus saved you for such a time as this… Tell your story…. Give your story to one that will listen…Amen