A Place of Pause

Chuck Swindoll shares that the book of Habakkuk is all about Habakkuk’s wrestling, waiting, praying, and praising.  It is a dialogue between a very burdened Habakkuk and God.

The two questions that not only Habakkuk but we invariably ask God that He most often never answers are “Why?” and “How long?”.  Habakkuk said “God, give me Your game plan” and God’s gracious answer was “If I gave you my game plan, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you.”

Habakkuk is confused, uncertain, and doesn’t know what to think anymore.  So, he makes the most important decision in his ministry.  He decides to say nothing, lie back, and wait on God.  He stations himself alone at his rampart and says to himself, “Apparently there is something cross-wired in my head and I need reproof from God.  Certainly there is confusion.  So, I’m going to wait for God to speak.” And it’s then after Habakkuk stops and waits for awhile that the Lord answers.

There is something significant about that word “answered” in the Hebrew translation of Habakkuk 2:2.  It conveys the idea of being favorable, docile, amenable in one’s response.  In other words, God smiled when He answered, “Oh, Habakkuk. I’m glad you stopped and listened.  I’m glad you waited.  That pleases me.  Now I’m ready to answer you.”

A wise sage once wrote:

In every life there is a pause that is better than onward rush.

Better than hewing or mightiest doing.

It’s the standing still at Sovereign will.

The pause and the hush sing double song in unison low and for all time long.

Oh, human soul, God’s working plan goes on nor needs the aid of man.

Stand still and see.

Be still and know.

We are perhaps never more effective in all our lives than when we make a determinate effort to STOP and REST in God.  And, it may be that there are times when God forces us to step aside and just wait on Him.

The Berkley Bible translating Psalm 40 renders it, I waited and waited for the Lord.  Then He bent over to me and heard my cry.  He brought me up from a destructive pit, from the miry clay and set my feet on a rock steadying my steps.”

A widow is thrown into that place of asking God not only “Why?!” but “God, what is Your game plan now?!”  For a long time there is too much fog to see ahead to even take the next step. When the fog finally begins to clear, the future is uncertain.  We don’t know who we are now.  More questions arise about ourselves as issues in our lives that we have never dealt with float to the surface.

If we truly want our hearts to be in tune with God, we are forced to stop wrestling and wait.  We tend to look at these places in our lives of pause and waiting as bad places, but God see those places as still waters where we stop, wait, and then sit quietly as He communes with us.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes in 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.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
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