Don’t Pull Out the Plug

Whatever your situation, no matter how frustrating it is, we can always bring the matter to the Lord.

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At one time or another, we have experienced a season of disappointments on God’s plans and directions in our life. There are moments when we pop the question, “where are You Lord, and why is this happening to me?” We doubt His instructions, and more so His instructions, or most of the time His silence – His seemingly lack of concern to the emotional turmoil we are dealing with.Don't Pull out the PlugThis has been the case with prophet Habakkuk. He lived during the final days before the nation of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. He was burdened, and in his distress he called out to God in the most honest, truth-seeking prayer he can mutter.

As I read the book of Habakkuk, I was able to glean significant realizations on how do we relate to God during our times of distress and how can we be encouraged with the example set out by the prophet. But the most important thing to note is that Habakkuk is just like us, so natural on his emotions, but unlike most of us, he is exemplary on his faith.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we can honestly cry out to the Lord

The prophet was brutally honest about his frustrations on what is happening around him. Injustice was rampant and he is sick with violence and plundering he witnesses from time to time. His frustrations were vent out to God: “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?”

Is this scenario familiar? Daily we hear the news and cringe on humanity’s dying morality and justice. National issues frustrate us every single day.

Let’s make it more personal. We all have our share of frustrating situations, like being backstabbed by a close friend, or failure to settle a maturing debt. Or maybe, a loved one was rushed to the hospital, leaving us in a state of panic.

The problem is when people have questions, instead of looking up to God for answers, some prefer to form societies, and within these gripe groups they try to seek for answers.

Whatever your situation, no matter how frustrating it is, we can always bring the matter to the Lord. He doesn’t mind you asking Him questions, neither is He bothered when you blurt out your doubts. Habakkuk is a perfect example of a person who courageously uttered His frustrations to God. In the first place, He knows our hearts and all out thoughts, so why shy away in your prayers?

The problem is when people have questions, instead of looking up to God for answers, some prefer to form societies, and within these gripe groups they try to seek for answers. The good thing about Habakkuk’s prayer is not just his honesty, but to whom He expresses it. He knows that when it comes to the matters of the heart such as his frustrations, only the Lord has the answer.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we must wait upon the Lord

Habakkuk received an answer from the Lord, but the answer is not what he has expected to hear from the God of justice. It was like he is expecting that good will triumph against evil, but what he received as a response was “something more evil will wipe out the evil” – a stark contrast from what he desires to happen, or at least expects to happen.  He obviously cannot fathom God’s train of thought on that matter.

Habakkuk embraced God’s promises and sovereignty even in times of his confusion. He trusts God’s timing that someday, justice will be served and His questions and doubts will be given a crystal-clear answer.

Just like us. We pray for certain things to happen but God gives us a different response. Indeed, His ways are higher than ours. His timetable is different, His logic incomparable to us human beings. Hence, some ends up being bitter, forsaking their relationship with the Lord.

Yet when it comes to Habakkuk, the Lord’s incomprehensible response served not as a reason for him to desert God, but as a reason to cling to God more. In fact, his name Habakkuk came from the Hebrew verb “habaq” meaning embrace. Thus his name probably means “someone who embraces or clings”. Habakkuk embraced God’s promises and sovereignty even in times of his confusion. He trusts God’s timing that someday, justice will be served and His questions and doubts will be given a crystal-clear answer.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we ought to put our joy in the Lord

Disappointment in life is often a ticket to sudden halt in our spiritual journey. When things don’t go well, when we can’t find any reason to rejoice because of what we see around us, it is easy to lose focus and energy, even lose joy in our Christian walk.

During the time of Habakkuk, it is hard to find encouragement when you know that imminent danger is coming your way. Yet Habakkuk chose to put his hope and joy in the Lord. Towards the end of his book, he has written an encouraging psalm that is for us to take hold of:

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Habakkuk is saying, in our language, that “even when all things went wrong – even when the economy falls, when the prices of commodities soar high, when the elections turn out differently from what I am expecting, even when my health fails and people desert me – still I will trust in You Lord. You are the source of my Joy and my strength, and in You alone I place my trust”.

This doesn’t mean we will dismiss our questions. This doesn’t mean we will stop seeking answers. This only means that even when we don’t understand his plans, we will not pull out the plug of our relationship with Him.

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Habakkuk is encouraging us, don’t pull the plug.

Conversation with God

Unless you are willing to give up whatever I ask of you, the perfect time will not arrive soon for you.

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God: Why are you crying?

Boy: I’m crying because of her.

God: That one? What about her?

Boy: I invested a lot of feelings on her but to no avail.

God: Is that so?

Boy: Yes. I even pushed myself to the limits. I skipped meals just to save money so I can buy her gifts. I am actually trying my best in everything for her to notice me.

God: Wow! That’s good. You are indeed highly motivated.

Boy: I badly want her to notice me. Have you seen my efforts, God?

God: Yes, and I can say you are an impressive guy.

Boy: But God, she isn’t impressed. What’s the matter with her?

God: …

Boy: Oh! I remember. She’s been in my prayers this past few weeks. You see, I shed tears for her. I like her so much, God. Haven’t You heard my prayers?

God: Of course, I do! I know all about your prayers.

Boy; Then why she isn’t into me yet?

God: Because son, I want you to be happy.

Boy: She makes me happy, God!

God: I know. I know how much you giggle every time you see her. I know how inspired you are whenever you think about her. I know all about that.

Boy: See! But why aren’t You making any actions on it? Do you love me, God? I mean, for real?

God: Of course son! I even died for you remember?

Boy: Yeah, yeah. I have heard that story countless time. But that is not the kind of love I am seeking. I like her, I mean, I love her. Will You give her to me?

God: Let me think about it. But first, I have to tell you some important things.

Boy: Shoot! What about, God? Anything goes.

God: Listen to me carefully. Do you know what love means?

Boy: Hmmm, yes. Liking someone, wanting her near, being sweet to her, You know – flowers, chocolates, gifts. Making her happy!

God: Ok, I get your point. But you’re just scratching the surface.

Boy: What do You mean?

God: What are you willing to give up for her? You know, love is sacrifice, just like what I did on the cross. When you say you love a person, you are saying that you are willing to give up everything for that person, even your life.

Boy: Isn’t that too much, God? Intense!

God: I think so, son. But let me continue. Are you willing to give up your precious ‘me’ time to meet her demands? Are you willing to adjust to her personality? Are you willing to share your resources to her? Are you willing to meet her parent’s expectations? As far as I can see, you cannot even obey your parents without whining or complain.

Boy: …

God: How about your privacy? Are you willing to give up your privacy and share it with her? Are you ready to let go of your pride and allow her to influence your every decision? And son, I am telling you, love is making a commitment. A commitment is not just a promise that is easily forgotten. A commitment has to shape your life. When you commit to someone, it means you are willing to take the risks and losses just to keep your commitment.

Boy: Commitment seems to be a serious thing.

God: Sure it is! So are you even serious about what you are asking me?

Boy: I think so, God.

God: Ok. So let’s start with the simplest sacrifice – your game console. Are you willing to give it up?

Boy: Umm… this one, God? Are You even serious? If there’s one thing that takes the most out of my time, this could be it. I value my games too much, as much as I value my gadgets. This is what makes me the most popular kid! How will she able to notice me if I am not popular anymore?

God: Love, my son, is a sacrifice. And unless you are willing to give up whatever I ask of you, the perfect time will not arrive soon for you. For now, son, finish your studies first. I’ll consider your request once you are man enough and sincerely willing to sacrifice.

The Difference

I had so much to accomplish
that I had to take time to pray.

notetoself

I got up early one morning
and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I didn’t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task.
“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.
He answered, ‘You didn’t ask.”

I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled, gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn’t show me.
He said, “But you didn’t seek.”

I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“My child, you didn’t knock.”

I woke up early this morning
and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I had to take time to pray.

– Unknown