If you have spent even a minute on social media, you have probably seen the caption “Wait for it” on videos. This is an indication that the funny moment or big reveal happens at the very end of the clip. Do you suppose this is an indication of how short our attention spans have become? Do we really need an instruction on a 30 second video to wait for the ending? That’s a scary thought.
Our lectionary this week has a lot of “wait for it” instructions. We find it again in this passage from Habakkuk. Habakkuk stood before Jerusalem as yet another foreign enemy army was on a rampage to destroy Judah. God’s people remained there after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C., but it became evident that Judah will fall as well.
This remarkable dialogue between the prophet and God has a lot to teach us about waiting, disappointment, and why it sometimes seems that God is inactive in our strife. Or is he?
Habakkuk 1 (Common English Bible)
1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
2 Lord, how long will I call for help and you not listen?
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you don’t deliver us.
3 Why do you show me injustice and look at anguish
so that devastation and violence are before me?
There is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 The Instruction is ineffective.
Justice does not endure
because the wicked surround the righteous.
Justice becomes warped.
These words express the tears of frustration and betrayal that the people of Judah felt. They saw the walls closing in and were acutely aware of their impending destruction. Why was God not coming to their defense? Where was the justice? Why were the wicked people prospering?
But Habakkuk remembers his place, and returns to his post in humble obedience.
2:1 I will take my post;
I will position myself on the fortress.
I will keep watch to see what the Lord says to me
and how he will respond to my complaint.
Then God answered the prophet’s complaint.
2 Then the Lord answered me and said,
Write a vision, and make it plain upon a tablet
so that a runner can read it.
3 There is still a vision for the appointed time;
it testifies to the end;
it does not deceive.
If you are in a place of great hurt right now and you need God to come, read this. He will come in his time.
If it delays, wait for it;
for it is surely coming; it will not be late.
4 Some people’s desires are truly audacious;
they don’t do the right thing.
But the righteous person will live honestly
So, if you are waiting for justice, vengeance, deliverance, the truth to come out, or any audacious thing to be overturned, just wait for it. Return to your post in humble obedience. Surely it is coming, saith the Lord.