But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3: 13

 

Waiting is a natural part of life. Some of us are better at it than are others. Some things are worth waiting for, too. These would include opening gifts on a special day, a long planned vacation, and God’s provision of a special person to share life with. Other waits such as that endless time in the lobby of a dentist’s office and sitting in your car on the side of the road while the police officer is writing out the ticket are less rewarding. All of us need to patiently hang in there while time makes its slow journey through our days. However, for people who know God, it seems that the hardest waiting of all is filled with the daily struggle of living in a world that is desperately broken and where vicious evil does its work.

 

We want the Lord to step in and to change it all. We can easily get caught up in the idea that there is something that I should be doing to change the way that my community, country, and our world system of governance are going. Perhaps if I prayed more, spoke out boldly, or stopped paying my taxes as a form of protest, then things would begin to change. People want answers that we can understand and that we can act upon. We seek to elect the right people to office; then, we are disappointed when they turn out to be filled with their own versions of the same frailty and compromise as were their predecessors. Nationalistic loyalty, what we call patriotism, takes over our hearts and influences our minds into believing that the answer to what is wrong with our world can be found in our particular nation’s heritage and system of government, if only our leaders would stay true to that foundational course.

 

Most of these ways of acting and thinking, with the exception of not paying taxes, have some merit. Yet, none of them will actually work to change the way that our world is headed. We live somewhere along the continuum of time that is the end of an age. This is a time when Satan and his evil are writhing and flailing about in their deathbed agony. God has informed us that during these days terrible things will happen. Natural and human caused calamity will pound our sensibilities with their relentless destruction and pain. The answer to it all is found in Christ alone. He has singularly defeated all of the evil of this world. Christ is risen from the death that Satan attempts to impose upon all of humanity, and Christ takes all of His own people with Him into that eternal resurrection. For now, we need to trust in God, follow His Word, and live in fearless victory over evil in our world. At this time, in these end of an age days, we are called upon by Christ to live as bearers of light who bring the glory of Christ into the darkness of despair that surrounds us. For we know that God’s promise of newness is true and we can abide in the peace of its anticipation.

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God, the Lord, is my strength;

he makes my feet like the deer’s;

he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3: 19

 

Habakkuk is frustrated with the world where he lives. He is also impatient with God for allowing things to continue as they are. Justice is rare, mercy scarce, and peace is nonexistent. It seems as if godlessness is ruling the day, and Habakkuk is angry with God because He is allowing the world to go in this direction. So, the prophet engages in a dialogue with God. He pours out his frustrations and concerns before the Lord, and he listens to what God has to say in return. As the issues are great and it takes Habakkuk time to grasp it all, this process continues for some time. This interchange with God involves cycles of pouring out the heart and listening for a response; then doing it all again until God’s view of the world and His calling for His people becomes clear.

 

There is something for us to learn in all of this. This world is just as troubled and concerning as the one in which the prophet lived. Human wisdom seems to rule the day, and its selfish intentions are prevalent in our culture. Even the presence of pagan powers that bring fear of conquest to our gates is a part of the daily discourse of our world. God’s desire to engage with His people in honest dialogue is not any different today than it was in these ancient times. We can pour out our frustrations and concerns before God, and He will listen and respond. Difficult times are not ones in which we should remain silent, but the first place that followers of Christ need to go with our issues and concerns is to the Lord in prayer and with listening to His response as our intended outcome.

 

The reality and the reliability of God’s responses to His people have been proven throughout the long history of this world. The Lord does listen, and in His own time, He speaks wisdom and truth to us. He also provides us with the courage and strength that we need to continue along the journey of faith that He has called us to embark upon. Although the Lord does not promise that there will be some form of miraculous improvement in our world before Christ returns, He does grant His people the gift of His presence as we navigate the troubled waters of this world. The Lord lifts our spirits out of the dark shadows of life’s deep valleys, and He gives us the truth of His Word and the guidance of His Spirit so that we can confidently travel a path that is made bright by the glory of Christ.