Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grace on a Thursday: in the 'even thoughs'

At the retreat I went on last weekend, we studied Habakkuk. I guess I've never really read Habakkuk for what it is. Or maybe God hadn't opened the eyes of my heart to its meaning until this weekend. Regardless, it's quite the powerful book for only three chapters, filling about two pages of my Bible. It met me right where I am. {Don't you love it when God does that?}

Here's the outline. Habakkuk is the prophet to the people of Israel who have turned their backs on God and are involved in all kinds of wrong ways. He pleads to God, asking how long He will wait to answer his prayers for revival. He complains,

"How long, oh Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen." (1:1)

God answers (in my summary), "Oh, did you think I wasn't paying attention? Well I am. And guess what. My response is not what you're expecting. Instead, I'm going to allow the most brutal nation on earth to bring war on you guys. That is what I'll use to discipline my children and bring them back to me."

Habakkuk is one emotional guy. I love him for that. With beautiful candor, he complains again to God, saying, basically, "Seriously? Seriously, God. THAT is your plan? That sounds really, really not like what I'd do." In my Bible, the heading actually says, "Habakkuk's Second Complaint."

But then. There is this beautiful verse. Habakkuk says:

"I will stand at my watch, and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me." (2:1)

He pulls himself up out of this pit of complaining and despair and weariness from the Lord's silence in his life. He goes up, lifts his eyes to heaven, and he waits, in faith. He watches. And he expects the Lord to act.

In His faithfulness, God answers yet again, and assures Habakkuk that He is indeed just. That His discipline does not last forever, and that the evildoers will be repaid for their pride and violence against Israel. His last statement seems to say, "Remember who you're talking to, here."

"But the Lord Almighty is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him." (2:20)

Yet the bad news hasn't changed. Destruction will come. That's God's choice. It is here that Habakkuk offers a final prayer, which is all of chapter three. He spends almost all of it listing out the past, ways God has shown faithfulness to Israel. He is showing us the power of remembering God's goodness in our lives when we are in tough times. He writes it all down. I get the sense that he feels better for a bit, while recalling God's mighty acts on behalf of His people.

And at the end, Habakkuk gets back to the current reality. The land and the people will be devastated. It is a sobering truth. Read the last three verses of the entire book: 

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights. (

His attitude is absolute grace. Nothing else could allow him to rejoice and find such strength in the Lord than God's grace buoying him up in light of the challenging season to come.

I have to ask myself, "What are MY 'even thoughs'?" Where am I still down in the pit of complaining over areas in my life that I did not expect? What are the areas of devastation that may indeed be allowed by the hand of God for a good reason?

Where might I turn these disappointments into opportunities to rejoice, even when there is not yet light at the end of the tunnel?

Which are your 'even thoughs'? I'm sure many of us will face each of these at some point.

Even though my husband lost his job...
Even though we haven't been able to conceive...
Even though my parents are gone...
Even though my friend betrayed me...
Even though my marriage is broken...
Even though I'm sick...
Even though I can't seem to hear God's voice...
Even though I've made horrible mistakes...

Can you answer like Habakkuk? Yet I will rejoice in the Lord?

I'm trying. I really am.

Because the sovereign Lord is my strength. In His grace, He makes my feet like the deer's, and helps me go up to my high places.



  1. hit on something I have been mulling over. This post was so timely for me!Habakkuk is not a book I normally turn to, but I will definetly be looking it up today :)

  2. Those 3 verses are nearly my absolute Bible favorites. We've walked that even though road the last five years and I can declare that over and over again because I have seen God's goodness, despite job loss, despite nearly losing our house, despite it all. I will yet praise him! It's a choice I make, even when it doesn't make sense, even when I don't feel like it. I love this! Thankyou for sharing it :)

  3. Thank you for sharing is exactly what I needed to hear in this moment

  4. I have a lot of "even thoughs," It has come to surrender and choosing to have a heart full of gratitude in the midst of them... and because of them.