Read Habakkuk 3:1-15.
There are times when we pray and there doesn't seem to be an answer. There are other times when God's answer seems to be "Wait just a little while longer. Not yet." And, as Habakkuk experienced, there are times when the answer we receive is the opposite of what we want to hear. When any of these things happen, it can be easy to sink deep into discouragement. But that is not our only option. Like Habakkuk, we can allow these disappointments to draw us into greater intimacy with God.
Habakkuk turned his unanswered prayer into an opportunity to grow in faith.
Instead of being angry with the Lord, instead of developing a hard heart toward God, instead of deciding to give up praying, Habakkuk turned his unanswered prayer into an opportunity to grow in faith, to grow in trust, and to grow in his knowledge of God. Habakkuk transformed the agony of unanswered prayer into an opportunity to align his will with God's.
You see, God was going to answer Habakkuk's prayer, just not how or when the prophet was expecting. Revival would come, but first there would be judgment. God's people had been unfaithful for hundreds of years—disregarding prophet after prophet, refusing to change their ways. And so, God was going to bring revival, but first He needed to get His people's attention.
But God always preserves a remnant of faithful people. For these saints, there was a message in the coming judgment, one that you and I can hold onto as well as we observe history unfolding before our eyes. God promises, "No matter how dark it gets, no matter how severe the pain, no matter how difficult the road, no matter how numerous the challenges, no matter how intense the suffering, no matter how distressing the economy, I am in control of history. Not only that, but I watch over My faithful people."
Is it any wonder, then, that tucked into the book of Habakkuk are words that the apostle Paul would later borrow to describe the way of salvation? Some 1,500 years later, these same words were used by the leaders of the Reformation to shake the world: ". . . but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness" (Habakkuk 2:4; see also Romans 1:17). Friend, no matter what comes our way in the coming months and years, this is our calling: to be the faithful people of God—no matter how He chooses to answer our prayers.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You are near even when Your answer is no or not yet. Help me to trust in Your will and to remember Your love for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy" (Habakkuk 3:2).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon When God's Plans Differ from Ours in Timing: WATCH NOW