The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk lives in evil times. Judah is in chaos and the Babylonians (who have already crushed Egypt and Assyria) are at the gates. Desperate and frustrated, Habakkuk goes straight to God and lets rip: ‘God, how long do I have to cry out for help before you listen? How many times do I have to yell, “Help! Murder! Police!” before you come to the rescue? Why do you force me to look at evil, stare trouble in the face day after day?’ (Habakkuk 1:1–4, MSG).
Here’s the thing: God can handle it when we lose it. As long as we come and lose it in His presence, as Habakkuk does here. When Jesus says, ‘Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened’, He’s not expecting a bunch of composed, calm people, who start their sentences with ‘Dear Jesus …’ Look at Habakkuk. He’s like, ‘Why aren’t You listening, Lord?! What are You doing?!’
God tells Habakkuk that He’s sending the Babylonians to punish Judah, which isn’t what Habakkuk wants to hear and he freaks out even more. In fact, none of Habakkuk’s problems are resolved in this encounter with God. Yet Habakkuk ends up celebrating and praising the Lord.
Why would Habakkuk do that?
Because, when he brings his whole burden to the Lord, God eases, and relieves and refreshes Habakkuk’s soul, which is exactly what Jesus promises to do (in Matthew 11:28, AMPC) when we bring our burdens to Him.
Habakkuk pours out his heart like a jug until it’s completely empty, and God fills Habakkuk with grace – in other words, everything he’ll need to face the coming challenges, including a healthy portion of joy and peace.
We don’t have to wait for a crisis or the eve of disaster to go to God and have this kind of no-holds-barred conversation with Him, or this level of authentic, intimate friendship. We can start straight away. The more of ourselves we bring to God, the more He has to work with. In His presence our relationship with Him is strengthened, our faith is fortified, and our souls find rest, as Habakkuk finds out.
Pouring out your heart to God is a heroic habit to cultivate. King David did it and God called David a man after His own heart (in Acts 13:22). It takes real courage to dig deep, to be honest with ourselves, to confront our challenges, to bring them to God, and to open up to Him. But the return is always exponential.
I wonder what Habakkuk would say if he were here today? He’d probably tell us straight:
‘Take your whole burden to God. Don’t mince your words or sugar-coat anything. Your transparency will bring you closer to God, and, as He shows you more of who He is, you will grow firmer in faith guaranteed.’
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