Pastor Larry reminded us today that despite all of the turmoil of the world, the Lord is not only with us, but hears our calls and petitions. Larry cited the 40th Psalm in his introduction: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
What firmer place to stand than with the One who created dry land, and who calmed chaotic seas (Genesis 1)? Jesus told us that it is the epitome of wisdom to build upon the firm foundation of God (Matthew 7). That wisdom we can see manifested in our Psalm: “He turned to me and heard my cry.”
So why are so many of us silent? When we hear of pandemics, we scramble to buy toilet paper rather than appeal to the Great Healer Himself to aid us. When some see injustice in the world, they scribble placards and take to the streets, rather than asking for the assistance of the Judge of the World.
There is at present not only the rumours of wars, but actual fighting in the streets. Yes, we should be like the early church of Acts (chapter 2) and send aid, but how much more should we send our prayers! Look at Acts 6. The needs were there, and the Apostles had priorities! They appointed the seven so that they could dedicate themselves to “to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Maybe we live in a time when we feel devalued and unlistened to. We get vague acknowledgements of our voices from our peers. We ask, “How are you?,” meaning little more than “Hello.” We are quick to think that our fears, problems, and concerns are not worthy of consideration, because that is how this world treats our appeals. But when we are patient. There is One who is faithful, and will turn to us and listen. And He promises to give us exceedingly, abundantly more than we even ask for. It is the time to not be silent. It is time to be heard.
In the current climate of perceived self-privilege, “Karen-ism,” and taking personal affront to anything that we don’t like hearing or seeing, it’s easy to resort to complaining. “I want to talk to your supervisor,” seems to be the general topic of hundreds of YouTube videos. But be careful at complaining too readily.
Sometime shorty before the siege and capture of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, the prophet Habakkuk had his go at the complaining game. He calls on God to do something about the evil, injustice, and idolatry in Israel. When he finished his litany of grievances, God replies. God says that He knows of the corruption of the leaders, and of the problems that Habakkuk has laid out. He continues to say that He will indeed act. In fact, God will allow the Babylonians to come and conquer the land.
This response catches Habakkuk on the back foot. “They are worse than we are!” is essential Habakkuk’s reply to this news. God nonetheless tell the prophet that this is what will come to pass, but to remember that it is God’s hands, not in men. He tells Habakkuk that the righteous will live by faith, and in His appointed time Babylon will be brought down and punished for their evil.
Sometimes the cure for ills is not in our comfort, or in our “rights and privileges.” Personally, I think that the pandemic has proven that. The greater good, such as masks or self-isolations, outweighed individualism. This is not a polemic for blind acquiescence to governmental authority, but instead a call for us to keep perspective. Like Habakkuk we can rest assured in the end God’s will shall be done.
For those who may still pondering governmental links (if so, sorry I brought them up), remember that the “woes” that Habakkuk cited: unfair economic practices, human exploitation, corrupt rule, and the worship of power, will all be remembered by God, and the perpetrators will be held accountable.
Next time then, before you head to the Complaint Department, or demand a manager, remember to weigh the situation in perspective, and the possibility that you might not like the answer.