Habakkuk is a small, often obscure book in the Old Testament named after its author. God shows the Prophet an extraordinary chain of events that is coming in chapter one, so extraordinary that Habakkuk could hardly believe it. To assure him it was true, God says in Habakkuk 2:3, “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
I have found in my own praying that when I approach the Lord for a request, He will say one of three things to me. Either the Lord will say, “Yes”, or perhaps He will say, “No” and often, very often, He will say, “Wait.”
How does it seem fair for the Lord to cause us to wait for certain requests when He invites us to “…let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6? We will discover the Biblical answer as to why God is in the waiting.
When God Says, “Yes.”
It is thrilling when God answers prayer. There have been so many times that God has confirmed to me that He is with me and helping me by answering my prayers. While we know that He will do according to His will, it is equally important to understand that prayer is not to get what I want. The purpose of prayer is to discover God’s will and to bring my life in alignment and agreement with His will. So while we rejoice in answered prayer, we must also preserve when it seems God is not answering prayer.
When God Says, “No.”
Although it can seem disheartening when God says, “No”, we would do well to remember where the will of God comes from. If you understand Romans 8:28 and how God can cause all things to “work together for our good, to those who love God and are called according to his purpose”, then you can understand that God’s will always comes from God’s heart.
This means that even when God says, “No”, He does so out of love for our well being. The Biblical perspective is that in these times, God is not punishing us, but is protecting us. I realize how difficult this can be to accept. All of us have prayed prayers where we knew God could intervene if He wanted to. So why did He not? If God loves us so much, then why did He allow us to suffer the pain and loss when He could have prevented it? Is that love on God’s part? The Biblical answer is, “Yes.”
We are quick to thank God for answered prayer and the blessings we enjoy, but how often do we pause and thank Him for the prayers where, in His sovereign wisdom and great love, He said “No”? Are we growing and maturing to the point where we are thankful for every door He has closed as well as every door He has opened?
When God Says, “Wait.”
Of the three, this is probably the hardest to understand. Waiting is difficult, but often, God is in the waiting. It is in this season that our faith grows and our understanding is elevated. Lamentations 3:25 promises us, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
If we are to grow in the Lord the way we must, then our faith must be tested. Note Peter’s admonition in 1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”