“Wait for it!” It’s a common thing to say today on social media when a YouTube video has some sort of surprise ending. It’s a promise that something good is coming, something that will be worth the wait. Woe to the vlogger who uses his “wait for it” carelessly. If you make us wait too long and the ending doesn’t deliver as promised… unsubscribe!
God tells Habakkuk something similar when he complains about his life situation. “How long must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? 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.” (Habakkuk 1:2-3) Wow, sound familiar? I’m reading a hundred versions of that same theme on social media every day!
Things were pretty bad in Habakkuk’s day. And God’s answer to him was that it was only going to get worse, much worse, before the promised justice would eventually arrive and “the earth [would] be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD…” (Habakkuk 2:14)
So, yay… probably not the answer Habakkuk was hoping for. And newsflash, the earth STILL isn’t “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD” so God’s promise to Habakkuk is still on hold over 2600 years later.
But God doesn’t seem too concerned about that when he answers Habakkuk’s complaints. “For the revelation awaits an appointed time;” God replies, “it speaks of the end and will not prove false; though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3)
How could God say that? God knew very well that Habakkuk would be long gone, his bones disintegrated into dust, before the promises ever came to pass.
It appears that when God says “it will not delay” he must be promising something entirely different than we might assume. Consider for a moment, God’s situation. God exists outside of time. He has always existed. We can’t wrap our tiny brains around what that even means. Our lives here on earth are only the tiniest blip on the vastness of eternity.
How impatient we are when we must “wait” for God to answer or act. Instead of trusting God, we try to bargain with him or we demand. Nope, doesn’t work like that. How grateful I am that God forgives our impetuousness!
We are so terribly enmeshed within our own small-minded goals and dreams within our short human timeline. But God is outside of all that. We fail to recognize just how perfect is God’s plan for us. That doesn’t mean our lives are going to be easy or painless (in fact, quite the opposite).
But God dreams BIG… bigger than our measly 75 or so years we are stuck here in these physical bodies. His plan for us spans not only our tiny time spent here as physical beings on earth, but all of eternity as well. He sees the perfected, light-beings we will become thousands of years from now. He knows the deepest joys and ecstasies our souls will experience when we are united with him and all our loved ones in a glorious afterlife where there is no longer physical pain or death.
Some day we will understand all of these things too. But today we do not. How much more content would we be if we could really just trust him? Throw away all of our impatient demands, complaints and worries, let go of our own feeble plans and inferior dreams and really just trust him?
Only then would we be able to say “Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done,” and really mean it. Only then would be be content to “wait upon the Lord” in perfect peace.