We know that God answers all prayers; with a yes, no or not yet.
But there are times when the answers we received are totally different or ‘against’ what we had prayed for: like when all we can see are debts even though we prayed for financial breakthrough.
Prophet Habakkuk was in similar dire straits. The Prophet longed for peace but everywhere he turned, he saw only destruction and violence, the rule of law was perverted and the wicked seemed to thrive. In face of these unwelcomed realities, Habakkuk looked toward the Lord, the Ruler of all things and poured out his laments:
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’
but you do not save?
3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
God replied Habakkuk that He was going to do something amazing. Something unbelievable! He was going to send the Babylonians! What? They were evil and wickedness personified! And God was sending them to the Israelites? Is this a cruel joke? We now know that God was sending the Babylonians to prepare Israel ahead of revival and deliverance!
Like most of you, I am frustrated at what is happening in our nation. There had been such a great expectation of a ‘new’ nation. Instead we see a nation that is seemingly stuck in a deep hole, crippled with paralysis. A corruption trial that many had stopped following because it seemed to be leading nowhere. An education system that focusses more on form, rather than substance like new shoes, new books, greater mud slinging and blame projection instead of vision casting and governing, greater intensity in racial polemics and much more.
In the midst of such confusions, Habakkuk’s conviction was to continue to live by faith and to rejoice in the Lord.
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my
strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
As a testimony, let me share what happened at our Cornerstone school recently. Our children have been praying faithfully for their families during devotion every Monday to Thursday. Some of them were praying that their grandparents would go to church: some had been praying for close to four years since they first came to school! Despite not seeing results, they remained faithful in their prayers. However lately we are seeing some results to our prayers and their grandparents had started going to church. (The students did not even notice the significance as they were only focussed on praying!)
The spiritual lesson for all believers for all time remains this: no matter what, “the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4b)
Through thick and thin, amidst confounding circumstances, all who place their hope in God shall, like Prophet Habakkuk, continue to rejoice in God, living a life of faith because of God’s faithfulness. God is good. He is sovereign. He’s all knowing. We shall rejoice in Him!
Elder JS Foo