Thursday, July 16, 2015

PRAY IT! Not the God I Thought: The Good Company of Habakkuk

Have you ever talked with someone who talked to you (or maybe “at you”, rather) for an hour, non-stop, and you could not get a word in edgewise?  How'd that make you feel?  And then, having all they needed to say, they ended the “conversation”.  Have you ever felt so unnecessary to a conversation that you stopped responding with the “Hmmmmm’s” and “Oh my’s” and “Really’s” just to see how long the other person could go with no response from you at all?  (47 minutes… good to know…) That’s not really any kind of conversation, is it?  The same holds true for our conversations with God. 

Last week, in the “Pray It” portion of the blog, we looked at how we could pray in light of Habakkuk.  Step 1 was to have a raw conversation with God:  to get vulnerable, honest, and specific, trusting our God all the while as we get to know Him better.  Let’s review Habakkuk’s honest, heart-wrenching, prayer of complaint:

1 The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.
How long, Lord, 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.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
    so that justice is perverted.
This week, as we continue on in our journey in Not the God I Thought:  The Good Company of Habakkuk, how do we continue to “pray it” after we’ve completed step 1?

The ball is now in God’s court.  We did say we’d be willing to get vulnerable.  Conversation (prayer) is a two-way street, after all.  Here is God’s response to Habakkuk:

“Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told.
I am raising up the Babylonians,[a]
    that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
    to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;
    they are a law to themselves
    and promote their own honor.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
    fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
    their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
    they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes[b] advance like a desert wind
    and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
    and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
    by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
    guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”

Step 2 in our Habakkuk/prayer journey is to wait for and to listen to God’s response.  Will we choose to lean in (remember, we want to know God better) and wait patiently for God’s response?  And what if the response comes quickly, but we don’t like the response?  Suddenly, it’s not an exercise in patience, but in obedience.  Will we continue to believe even if we do not like God in that moment?  Or will we shut Him down, as we often can, when conversations get unpleasant, as though that will somehow change things?

Again, as we continue to pray and lean in, we need to have BIG FAITH.  Hebrews 11:4 states, “By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain.  It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference.  That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous.  After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.”

Dear God,

Thank you for always being available to listen to me.  And thank you for your willingness to speak.  Help me be patient for, and accepting of, your responses.  Help me listen better.  Help me to be patient when the responses seem slow, or you seem quiet.  Help me to obey and be gracious when the response is not what I thought or wanted.  Help me continue to lean in toward you rather than shrink back.  Help me to actually have a conversation with you.


PoC|Coverage is tonight, at 6pm.  Join us we engage in various prayer and care activities! 
Pastor Celia

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