September 24, 2016

Habakkuk 2:1-3 I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.”

When you pray to the living Lord, you would do well to expect an answer, as Habakkuk did in verse 1. We are very prone to entreat the Lord for guidance, encouragement, revelation or what have you, and then turn away if we don’t get what we’re looking for in the way we expect it within a very limited time. We also have the problem of not paying attention and listening to Him in the first place. The first time I ever heard the Lord speak to me in what might as well have been an audible voice, I had been praying non-stop, begging Him to give me an answer. (At this point I don’t even remember what I was praying about.) When I paused for a breath, He said with perfect clarity, “Well then, shut up.” I was shocked into silence, but then I had to laugh. Whatever I had been asking Him about wasn’t as important as the lesson that I had better be listening. We say we serve a living God, but we seldom act like we ourselves really believe it. A very big part of faith is simply expecting God to answer. It’s not wise to try to dictate the content of the answer, or the timing. We are all too likely to specify both! The second half of faith is acting on the reply we receive, and not just feeling satisfied because we got an answer. James said that’s deceiving ourselves. (James 1:22)

It was at least three separate times the Lord gave verses 2-3 to me and to Shinsei no Sato. The second of those times, the person delivering the Word said, “Nobody gives a message from Habakkuk, but here it is!” The times after that we weren’t nearly as surprised! I feel the Lord has placed this passage in the Bible-reading sequence at this point precisely because we have been looking at our ministry of the past 35 years, and particularly its status right now, and wondering what real good we have done. Actually, the Lord gave me the answer to that through my own mouth as I was talking with someone at the conference a couple of days ago, when I said that we don’t know the extended consequences of what we do, either good or bad. We can look at people in the Bible and see how their actions have echoed through the centuries, but we can’t really get that same perspective on ourselves. I’ve got to trust God to fulfill what He has said, through the Bible and to me personally, whether that fulfillment is within my physical lifetime or not. He has said that we will see every street corner filled with people who are praising God because of us. Even if that’s at our funeral, or even at some memorial further down the road, I’ve got to trust Him with it, because I certainly can’t make it happen on my own.

Father, being on a trip like this causes us to examine all sorts of things and perhaps see them differently. Thank You. The process isn’t necessarily easy or even pleasant, but it’s valuable. (Hebrews 12:11) Help me learn from each thing You allow me to experience, not complaining or rebelling but trusting You to use everything for my good and for Your glory. (Romans 8:28) Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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