This morning, I took a shower and put on an outfit I purchased over a year ago for this very day. Yes, I bought an “election day” outfit last fall in anticipation for November 8th, 2016. Perhaps now is the time to tell you that I was a political science major in college and worked in politics before marriage and children. It seems as if every campaign season I struggle with contentment not being in the political scene anymore. Every election season that is, except this one.
I had no idea when I bought my outfit which candidates would be representing the two top political parties. This morning I debated whether I should even wear the clothes that adorn my party’s symbol since they no longer accurately communicate where my support is going. Sitting on the cold bathroom floor, I found myself grieving the current state of our nation.
How can I celebrate or get excited about the days ahead? What is the Lord thinking?
The story where Jesus wept upon hearing the news that his friend Lazarus had died in John 11 came to mind. Jesus didn’t have to weep, he knew God was about to raise him up from the dead. In that tender moment, we see the Lord demonstrating that it is okay to grieve, even when we trust our future to God.
Hope from Habakkuk
I’ve been clinging to the book of Habakkuk lately. If you haven’t read it, today would be an excellent day to do so. It begins with the prophet Habakkuk asking the Lord why Babylon can grow in power. It seemed unjust and evil to the nation of Israel, and I’m sure like many of us they wonder what God is doing. Habakkuk’s complaint to the Lord in Habakkuk 1:2 beings with, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help…” Eerily similar to many of our nation’s prayers.
The Lord’s first response in Habakkuk 1:5 leaves me speechless, “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.” The interesting thing is that God doesn’t say the Babylonians will be defeated, but instead, He whispers of the political gain that will soon be theirs. God says that he is raising them up in the same breath that he calls them ruthless and impetuous. It doesn’t make much sense to us, but just as it says in Isaiah 55:8,
‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.
Habakkuk comes back to God with a second complaint (isn’t that like us too?!) in which he asks God why He tolerates the treacherous and why he is silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves. I don’t know about you, but so often I grumble and complain, but don’t wait for the Lord to answer me. However, Habakkuk doesn’t make that same mistake. He ends this complaint by saying that he will stand watch and wait for God’s answer.
And God answers him with more “bad news” from man’s perspective, but says in Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” It was going to take war, bloodshed, famine, and other catastrophic events to lead to the earth knowing of the glory of the Lord. What a beautiful promise in the midst of the ugliness of this fallen world. God ends his answer by silencing Habakkuk’s complaints in 2:20,
But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). No matter what little wars you are fighting today, whether it be a national election, a divorce, debt, unemployment, a prodigal child, an unwanted diagnosis, or an aging parent, we can be confident that the Lord is in control. He will either eradicate the enemy, or allow a season of suffering, but whichever outcome he allows, it is for the knowledge of his glory to fill the earth. He is the Lord, not us. As it says in Hosea 11:9,
…For I am God, and not a man– the Holy One among you…
Habakkuk ends his book not with another complaint, but with a prayer. Talking and listening to God has changed his perspective, not his circumstances. He praises the Lord as he waits for calamity to come. Many of us feel the same way today as we wait for election results to come in. No matter the outcome of the presidential race or the battleground happening in your own home, let us all gain hope from Habakkuk and pray as he did in 3:18-19,
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 go on the heights.
Blessings today on every nation as we depend on in Him,