by Wayne Barber
Pastor Wayne continues with the qualities of waiting, based on Habakkuk 3:16-19.
The second factor in waiting is advantage. The advantage is that God can do what you cannot do. Once, in my ministry, there was a man in our church who was causing some problems. He basically laid an ultimatum on us, as a staff, and he thought he had us squirming. If I hadn’t known this Scripture in Habakkuk, I would have been a wreck, but I knew that God was in control. Granted, it took me awhile to get to this perspective. When he made his verbal attack on us, it literally knocked me into a low place, but I finally came to realize that God had allowed it to happen, for His purposes. It is God who brings us to that high place.
That’s what waiting is all about. You don’t jump in and take over. You learn to wait and let God weave those things together (see “weave” as the literal meaning of the Hebrew word translated “wait” in Habakkuk 3:16, in Part 1 in the April issue). Once you are on your high place, you can stay on that high place. Oh, how the anticipation begins to build. God, what are You up to? God, I can’t begin to imagine. Just tell me what to do, Lord. I can’t wait to see whatever it is that You are weaving together.
There is another side to waiting—one we don’t like. That is the agony. Verse 17 says: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls.…” That sounds pretty barren. Habakkuk is talking about a time when Judah is going to be taken into captivity for seventy years. He says, “Even during that time, in those agonizing moments, when I don’t even know if God is anywhere around, I am going to trust Him.”
Verse 18 continues: “Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” We don’t like bad times, but we have to believe that God knows about us, and that somehow He will use our bad times to better our lives. He’ll conform us into the image of Christ through them. As we go through the agony and pain of whatever you have to go through, remember that God is in control. There will come a time when God will bring you through it. You will begin to see why He allowed it to happen in the first place. But we’ve got to be willing to go through the agony.
In the midst of it, we can rejoice. The Hebrew behind “exult” in verse 18 means to visibly show to all that regardless of how bad your circumstances are, you have chosen to trust God. They see it on your face. They hear it out of your mouth. They don’t hear you complaining or murmuring. They hear you saying, “I am trusting in the God of my salvation.”
That is living on a high place. A proud person can’t live on the high places. A proud person won’t do that because he doesn’t believe that there is a God who really is in control.
But, there is one more thing about waiting: attitude. “I will rejoice in the God of my salvation” the prophet insists. Psalm 40 says: “I was in the pit, and I cried out. God heard my cry, brought me out, put my feet on a rock and gave me a new song in my heart.” That’s what God wants to do in your life.
Habakkuk’s prophecy concludes: “The Lord God is my strength and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet....” What is a hind? It is a doe. A doe is equipped to get up on those high ledges. God designed us for high places, too. The last line of verse 19 is the key to the whole book of Habakkuk: “...And He makes me walk on my high places.” What is the worst situation you have to face? Well, you have a choice. You can be in a low place in that circumstance or be on a high place. The question is, do you trust God?
Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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