Focus – Faith for the quiet times
by Laura Robinson –
How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery.
The LORD replied, “Look at the nations and be amazed! Watch and be astounded at what I will do! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.”
Habakkuk 1:1-5––New Living Translation
I am not sure about you, but I can certainly identify with Habakkuk. I feel like I have been crying out to the Lord to no avail. Tears, gnashing of teeth, shouting, pounding my head on the wall—okay, so I may be exaggerating a little but you get my point—so often I feel as though my prayers are going unheard, as if there was so much static between heaven and earth that I can’t break through. But then I am reminded that my prayers are always heard, that though I may struggle to communicate with the Lord, he is always listening. Have you ever been sunburned on an overcast day? The sun is there just hidden from sight. So is the “Son” sometimes hidden from our sight.
When we are young in our faith the Lord makes his presence known at every turn, always coaxing, cheering and supporting. He takes our hand and tells us which way to go. I spent two years in Africa where the Lord made himself truly known to me. It was like a return to the Garden of Eden. When I needed something, he provided; when I needed someone, he was there. His will was made plain and obvious and I basked in his glory on a daily basis, no matter how difficult times seemed. My faith grew in leaps and bounds, as did my understanding of God’s character.
I have been home for nearly two years now and to my (and others’) great surprise these two years have been more difficult than anything I encountered overseas. Where God made himself obvious over there, he seems to whisper quietly here. I didn’t have much money or very many friends there so I turned to him; here I have more than enough of both, and I find myself distracted. As I continue to try and seek the Lord’s will for my life I find he is harder to hear, his voice more difficult to recognize. It seems to me that as my faith increases, at times God’s presence may feel further away.
Though he has certainly not left my side, he may choose to remain quiet to test my faith. How do we prove that we have faith in God if we must constantly be reassured of his presence? It has been a difficult lesson for me, one I am certainly not finished with, but it has also been an important one. My circumstances cannot determine my spirit, and my faith must persevere through even the quietest of times.
That fifth verse in Habakkuk comes and the Lord finally speaks, “I am going to do something you wouldn’t believe even if I told you about it!” What an amazing reply! Imagine what a sweet sound the Lord’s voice must have been to discouraged Habakkuk––not only the knowledge that the Lord has never and will never forget you, but that he is going to do something so amazing you won’t be able to believe it.
The next time you are feeling as though you are not being heard and that the Lord has forgotten you, hold on and remember––he is about to do something astounding! Whether it is in this lifetime or when we are united with him in Heaven, the Lord promises in Hebrews 6:10 (NLT), “For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him…”