How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! "Violence is everywhere!" I cry, but you do not come to save. Habakkuk 1:2
When Amy Carmichael was a little girl in Ireland, she learned that she could ask God anything, and He would answer her prayer. As she thought about it, she realized that what she really wanted was blue eyes, which she thought were much more preferable to her own brown eyes. Before Amy went to bed that night, she prayed and asked God to make her brown eyes blue. To her disdain, when she woke up the next morning, her eyes were still brown. She was so disappointed, wondering why God did not give her blue eyes. This disappointment may not seem like a big deal to you, but it was a big deal to Amy. She was frustrated with her circumstance and did not understand why God appeared to be silent.
You and I may not be wishing God would change the color of our eyes, but we all have our own difficult situations that we do not understand. We face storms of our own every day. Sickness occurs. The job promotion is denied. The application to our dream college is not accepted. The seemingly solid friendship ends abruptly. No one is immune to life's storms, so we must learn how to respond when they come. Whatever storm you are facing today, you are in good company. The prophet Habakkuk was no stranger to life's storms. Although he did not understand his difficult circumstance, he learned to have peace in the middle of his storm.
At the beginning of the book of Habakkuk, the prophet offered a prayer to God, asking how long he would look upon the sin of the people of Israel without God intervening. The Israelites were acting violently, unjustly, and wickedly, and Habakkuk was distraught. His prayer was a desperate prayer. He saw the people of Israel living disobediently, and it seemed as if they were getting away with it. He was frustrated with God and the circumstance he was in. He did not know why God was not acting against the wickedness of the Israelites. Have you been there? Have you ever questioned the circumstance you were facing and wondered why God seemed to be silent? After Habakkuk cried out to God in Habakkuk chapter one, God assured the prophet that He was working in this situation and that the people of Israel would be punished for their disobedience and sin. God was working. Habakkuk just could not see it. If He was working in Habakkuk's life in the midst of a storm, He is working in your life too, whatever storm you may be facing.
As an adult, Amy Carmichael became a missionary in India. In order to best minister to the people of India, Amy did everything she could to assimilate to their culture, including adapting her appearance to look more like them. It was then that she realized why God did not give her blue eyes. Her blue eyes certainly would have made her stand out, which is exactly what she was trying not to do. Because of her brown eyes, Amy was able to reach the people of India better. Even though God seemed silent in her storm, He had been working, and He had a purpose for answering her prayer with "no." God may seem silent in our storms, but He is always working, even when we do not understand.
What storm are you facing today? Maybe when you look at your circumstances, you see disappointment, and you are questioning God and His plan. Let me assure you that God is working even when He seems silent. He is in control, and because of this, you can have peace.
Do you find yourself, like Habakkuk, saying, "How long, Lord?" Your assignment today is to tell God about the hard circumstance you are facing. In your journal, write out a prayer to God. Tell Him that you are struggling. At the same time, ask Him to show you that He is indeed working, even when you cannot see.
Read Habakkuk 1:1-11 (NLT)
This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received in a vision.
How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry,
but you do not come to save.
Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
so that justice has become perverted.
The Lord replied,
“Look around at the nations;
look and be amazed!
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.
I am raising up the Babylonians,
a cruel and violent people.
They will march across the world
and conquer other lands.
They are notorious for their cruelty
and do whatever they like.
Their horses are swifter than cheetahs
and fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their charioteers charge from far away.
Like eagles, they swoop down to devour their prey.
“On they come, all bent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind,
sweeping captives ahead of them like sand.
They scoff at kings and princes
and scorn all their fortresses.
They simply pile ramps of earth
against their walls and capture them!
They sweep past like the wind
and are gone.
But they are deeply guilty,
for their own strength is their god.”