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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Reflection on Habakkuk

by Sharon Nelsen

One day in our weekly faith-sharing group, we prayed for the Lord to give us words of knowledge for each other; words that would build up our faith.  I received the word, “Habakkuk.”

I knew the short book of Habakkuk, which is found between Nahum and Zephaniah and was written just prior to the Babylonian Exile, and I wondered why God was leading me to it now.  As I began to read, I was struck with the dialogue between Habakkuk and God that begins with the prophet strongly expressing his feelings:

   “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen!” (1.2)

And God responding as if Habakkuk had asked a totally different question:
“Look over the nations and see, and be utterly amazed! For a work is being done in your days that you would not have believed, were it told.” (1.5)
Well, here I am, writing letters to God for over thirty years, expressing a cauldron of feelings and always hearing God respond with words that seem to circumvent what I was asking.  I’m beginning to relate to this man with the drum-like melodic name who speaks with such boldness to God. 

Does this have anything to do with what the Lord might be asking of me now? I am very aware of my inner reality.   Oh timid spirit, where is your boldness?  Are you waiting for God to do something magical--to wave a holy wand, and “poof” out springs a manuscript?

A woman mired in waiting, I go back to Habakkuk.  Now he is boldly asking God, “Why then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence while the wicked man devours one more just than himself?” (1.13)

Again God responds by getting to the heart of the matter, this time with an encouraging mandate:

        Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.  For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” (2.2-3)

Well, old Habakkuk, I hear God speaking to me through you--right to the heart of my dilemma: “Write down the vision clearly so that one can read it readily.”   I decide to talk to God about it.

“Help me, Lord.  You know how uncomfortable I feel in sharing what I hear from You.  I am waiting for You to show me if what I hear I need to pass on to others, and if so, how?  I ask you to remove all barriers within me.”

And the Lord says, “Yes, I hear you.  Yes, I answer you-- in My words to you and in My words to Habakkuk.”

“First,” I hear God say, “Let’s look at how you perceive waiting: It is difficult for you to wait when apparently there is no resolution.  Things are not clearly resolved and that bothers you.  Why?  Because you think unresolved means:
·         Not good
·         Not what I hope for
·         Not favorable.

Unresolved simply means, “not yet resolved.”  If you believe and trust that I complete what I have begun, and you believe and trust that even if it is something that seems like your idea, I can bring good out of it, you will be able to wait in peace while the “not yet” unfolds.  In regard to our dialogues, you remain in an unresolved state because you are waiting to receive permission from a “higher authority.”  You have received permission from a higher authority, but you don’t trust that you have.  Essential to the walk of faith is stepping out because the Truth has embraced you and you cannot ignore it, deny it, or suppress it.  What you hear in the dark and are able to proclaim in the light comes from the gift of boldness that you so admire in Habakkuk and that is resting in your soul waiting to be activated.

Can you trust that I will not lead you, my beloved, astray?  Are you self-conscious because you are aware of your flaws, your weaknesses, your sins?  Whether you do things perfectly or not, I am with you.  Does “with you” mean agreeing with you in every aspect of your life?  Do you agree with your spouse, your children, your siblings, your friends on every issue, every subject?  Do they agree with you on every issue?  Yet, are you not “with each other” for life?  Do you not love each other deeply?

Agreement is not the issue; you can agree without love and you can love without agreeing.   When you let go of self-conscious and become God-conscious, you are in right relationship with Me, and you will find yourself “agreeing” more and more with My ways, which as I have said before, are not your ways.  Yet, know that I love you whether I agree with you or not.  And, I love you whether you agree with me or not.

Let’s look at My words to Habakkuk that struck your heart: “If the vision delays, wait for it.  It will surely come.  It will not be late.”

Delay is the key word here.  Delay means, “not yet here.”  Delay is about your perspective of My timing.  You hope for it now, you think it is better the sooner it arrives, and when it does not meet your expectations, you fall into your old thinking patterns about unresolved issues. And, like many before you, you risk missing the vision when its time has come. 

Those who wait for Me with courage, who are stout-hearted and wait through the delays, knowing that the vision is Truth, that its source is Me, recognize the vision when its time has come--when it is fulfilled.  A good example is Luke’s story of Simeon who waited for the vision to be fulfilled and recognized the Savior of the world. (Luke 2.27-32) 

While “not yet” is at the core of delays, “not timely” is at the core of late.  Late is about the earthly reality of time-- a time to be born and a time to die, a time for everything under the sun.  When the rains are late, the seedlings will wither and die.  If you arrive late at the airport, you miss your flight (unless it was delayed!)  Late misses the acceptable time, the day of salvation.

You are able to stay with the delays in the unknown and unresolved when you are confident that the source is Me.  Then you can wait, trusting that I bring all things to fulfillment at the proper time; that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, that I make all things new; that My words to the Church, My words to each person who listens and hears My Voice are trustworthy and true.

Recognize, as did Habukkuk, that now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation, and write down what you hear clearly so that it can be read.  Boldness in My Spirit empowers you to proclaim the Truth you have heard.  As you obey, new life is born in you, life that bears fruit as a tree planted by running streams. Even as we speak, it is being fulfilled.

I thank you Dear Father of Life for waiting for me to catch up to the vision you have for me.  Thank you Habukkuk, for writing about your own process clearly so that I could read it today. I can sum up today’s experience with your own closing words:

God, my Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet swift as those of hinds
And enables me to go upon the heights.” (3.19)

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