Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Journey of the Soul

The book of Habakkuk has always fascinated me. I think what fascinates me more than the book itself, is the honesty and forthrightness with which Habakkuk the prophet pours out his heart, writing openly about his life, the different stages of his walk with God, and the decisions that he made.

Habakkuk is classified as one of the Minor Prophets, and the book of Habakkuk is eighth among the twelve books of the Minor Prophets towards the end of the Old Testament.

As I was rereading this admittedly short, yet profoundly impacting book, I started jotting down some notes regarding what I was personally taking away from Habakkuk’s conversation with God, having more to do with our daily lives, than the prophetic implications of it.

The first thing I jotted down, and underlined repeatedly is that even men of God go through trying times, and discouraging moments. Being a believer does not exempt us from going through hardships, from being discouraged, from suffering loss, from feeling pain, or from having our hearts broken.

Habakkuk was a man discouraged. Habakkuk saw the discrepancy between the wicked and the righteous; he observed how the righteous were being surrounded by the wicked, and concluded to himself that God was not intervening the way he would have wanted Him to.

Although nobody likes to be discouraged, there are various examples of some of the most renowned men of faith being discouraged in the Bible. From Abraham, who was discouraged and asked that Eleazar be his heir, to Elijah who was so discouraged that he asked God to kill him, to David, and even the Apostle Paul; men of God have gone through their moments of discouragement.

If you are discouraged today, do not despair. You are not alone, nor is it something abnormal in the life of a believer.

Moments of discouragement are frequent traveling companions in our lives, and in those moments we are tempted to think that the promises of God belong in the past, we are tempted to believe that God has forgotten us, we are tempted to murmur, and on occasion we are tempted to judge God and our fellow man as Habakkuk attempted to do.

Habakkuk 1:2-4, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ and You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.”

Since it is as impossible to avoid discouragement in this life as it is growing old, the question we must ask is what must we do when we are discouraged? Do we just endure discouragement, do we tell others about it, do we look for the cause, do we find someone to blame, or do we console ourselves with the knowledge that others are going through it as well?

The wise thing to do when we are discouraged is to do what Habakkuk did.

Knowing who God is, knowing what He can do, Habakkuk tells God what he sees, he tells God what is bothering him, He tells God why he is discouraged, and also what his expectations are. Habakkuk is polite, yet insistent in his pleas to God, and God answers him.

As God begins to speak to him, Habakkuk’s hope is rekindled as he remembers the nature of God, the power of God, the holiness of God, and the plan of God for the righteous as well as the wicked.

Habakkuk 1:12, “Are You not from everlasting, O Lord My God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.”

Even though the present had not changed, Habakkuk’s hope was rekindled upon being reminded that he served an unchanging God, a God who is faithful to those who remain faithful, and who keeps His promises no matter the circumstances.

If today you are discouraged, if today you are disheartened, remember the God you serve. Remember His faithfulness, remember His mercy, remember His holiness, remember His steadfastness, and let your hope be rekindled.

There are many things concerning tomorrow of which we are ignorant, but one thing we can be certain of in perpetuity, and that is the nature of the God we serve.

Habakkuk’s journey of the soul took him from the valley of despair and the crushing weight of discouragement to the heights of hope in God, not because circumstances changed, not because things began to fall into place the way he’d expected them to, but because he remembered His God, and the faithfulness of Him.

Habakkuk knew that in His time God would judge justly between the wicked and the righteous. He knew that in His righteousness God had to judge Judah, but he also realized that Judah would be restored once they repented.

Bring to remembrance the love God has for you, bring to remembrance the faithfulness He has shown you, bring to remembrance the promises He has made to you, and your discouragement will be a passing and fleeting feeling, rather than a continual state of being.

Romans 11:22, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Mrs Pugh said...

Thank you, Bother Mike. This is a timely message that you could have addressed directly to me. Words that needed to be heard.

Thank you,
Mrs. Pugh

LaTika said...

I wholeheartedly concur with Mrs. Pugh...

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