2 “How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’
but you do not save?
3 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.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.” ~ Habakkuk 1:2-4
The Lord answers 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.” ~ Habakkuk 1:5
This past Sunday morning the above discourse between Habakkuk and God came to mind in relation to the message of “Breathe!” that I felt I was receiving from God that morning. My heart was particularly soft and tender this past Sunday and I was even having a hard time keeping back tears while at church in the morning. It wasn’t anything particularly said or happening in church, I was just feeling overwhelmed by my impatience (you can read about that here) with my present circumstances and they would start flowing. It could have been related to the fact too that I was just up all night again as I worked 3rd shift at the hospital the night before as well 😉 .
Something else possibly contributing to this also is the fact that I learned as I came into work this past weekend that a full-time position among our chaplain staff at the hospital will be coming available. One of my colleagues has recently been promoted to a higher up chaplain position leaving his position open. I personally would love to move into this position! This has my hopes and yearnings up, desperately wanting this position. However, too, my guard is up knowing this may not be what God has in store for me.
During our congregational prayer time I ended up sharing about this with the church so others can be praying with us, and then after church a woman familiar with my wife and I approached us. I have recently been chosen to serve as an elder in this church and she referred to that saying, “The other Sunday while you were helping serve Communion I noticed something in you. I saw in your face a deep compassion for others and it made me think chaplaincy seems so perfect for you.” She cautiously brought this up because she didn’t want to presume anything. She then asked to pray for us and as she did tears welled up and flowed again.
She did ask one thing too before praying though in regards to what she saw in me that morning while serving Communion. She asked, “Am I right about this? Do you feel this way too?” I actually answered her hesitantly saying basically that “I think so and I want to, but I hold back. It’s a way of protecting myself. I am too scared to just place all of my hopes here.” I didn’t describe it this well in the moment, but I think she got my drift. Another difficulty of being up all night just before.
Soon after this then I went and got in my car to drive home and go to sleep and a weird feeling came over me. I felt suffocated as tears welled up again, and even as they came down my cheeks something was blocking them as well. I tried to sit there and just be alone with myself for just a little bit, but it wasn’t easy. After a very short time I let my face dry, starting the car, and pulled away. As I did I suddenly found myself reciting in my mind Habakkuk 1:5 from above, “I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told!” Before I got through saying it once I stopped myself thinking, “What am I saying? Why am I saying and feeling this verse right now?” Then like the sound of a gentle whisper I heard the message, “Breathe!”
It took just a little bit longer then for that to sink in. Stop and think of the implications of that though! I had never read or remembered that verse before in such a way.
Habakkuk makes a scorching complaint towards God. He holds nothing back… “Can you not see this, God? What the heck are you doing? Where are you? Injustice abounds! How long will you just stand by and let this continue?” He isn’t just crying wolf, but blatant, flat out bloody murder, and he calls God to account! The injustice around and within him is suffocating and Habakkuk can’t take it anymore! “Isn’t it obvious something must be done, God? How is any of this fair or just or right?”
I have felt the sting of this in the past year and a half and even longer. I’ve complained similarly, and really I’d say Habakkuk’s complaints seem way more justified. I’ve encountered countless more things at the hospital too to even feed the fire.
God answers though in astounding fashion. Some might dare to say in absurd fashion thinking, “Oh yeah? Well, show me!” or, “Where have you been all this time then?” God said this though to promote peace within Habakkuk, a form of quietness and trust and strength (Isaiah 30:15) amidst the great turmoil he’s all too familiar with.
And if it is true?!… God must have something truly awesome in store.
God bringing this to my attention may not mean that I am definitely going to get this position, or that my time on the threshold is soon to be over, or that even getting this position means that my time on the threshold is complete. It may be a means to help me yet continue to remain on the threshold until something else comes down the road.
His message to me is simply put, “Breathe!” … “I’ve got this. Don’t count me out yet. Watch, and you will see. You will be amazed!”
I pray that whatever toil, turmoil, or injustice you’re a part of or see, that in reading this, you too in the midst of the Almighty, ever-loving, ever-faithful, and entirely able God are enabled to BREATHE!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13