By Rev. Yvette R. Blair-Lavallais
Habakkuk 2: 1-3 – I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.2 Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.
In almost every facet of life, you are asked to take an idea and develop it into an executable plan that others can rally around and help bring into fruition. Whether it’s a home décor idea, an idea for one of the many organizations of which you are a part, or it’s an assignment handed to you from your team leader at work, there is a quest for creating a plan – one that is evident of your vision and insight. And if done properly, this vision becomes your signature project that people will associate you with for months and years.
Like you, I am ready to move forward and walk into this unique and individual vision that has my name on it. I also know that no matter how determined and focused I am on the vision, there will be some circumstances and situations that I will encounter – problems and people whose sole purpose is to get me to doubt the vision. I want to encourage you and warn you that the closer you get in living out God’s unique vision for you, there will be unusual circumstances that come your way with the intention of catching you off guard and redirecting your focus from what God has for you. It’s a set-up to set you up to begin second-guessing yourself and to start second-guessing God.
In the story of Habakkuk, we find the prophet in the midst of a transition in political power. I think you can understand in light of our own social context as we begin to see the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Elections, what this time must have been like in 640 BC (Before Christ or BCE, Before the Common Era). It was in the time of a divided nation when the Israelites, God’s people, were looking for help in the wrong places. Instead of turning to God from which their help comes, they were looking to the Babylonian power for help.
You have the Chaldeans who are the Grand Old Party of the Babylonians rising up against the nation of Judah, destroying the democracy and causing the Judeans to be taken into captivity. In other words, it was like a fixed election or exchange of power where one group ruled over the other group. And rather than coming together as allies, the ruling party (as they are described in chapter one) caused a breakdown of the moral and social order in the land and the injustices began. It was a new world order. The Babylonians gained control and the Judeans found themselves losing their seats of power.
And rightfully so Habakkuk is concerned about the injustices, concerned about the wrong-doing, the disregard for the poor, the marginalized, the homeless, and the strife and contention that begins to arise. These are all the same things that, as a member of our local community, we should be concerned about today as we look at our blighted neighborhoods that are wrought with hunger and frazzled by unemployment. Habakkuk was dumbfounded to say the least and began to wrestle with what he was seeing. In fact, his name literally means to “wrestle” or “embrace.”
And he wrestles until finally God answers his concerns and tells him to write the vision on a tablet and make it plain. And he is instructed to wait on the vision to come into fruition because God tells him: the vision will come at the appointed time. Even when it seems like it’s taking too long. It will not tarry. It will not delay. It comes in God’s divine timing. Vision is the supernatural ability to see what God has planned and purposed for your life. God is the visionary leader of our lives and when God casts the vision, God is meticulous in the approach, the assignment and the action steps that we must take. The same God who set the sun in the sky, and the fish in the sea is the same God who has created you and designed you and equipped you and empowered you to live out the unique vision that God formed you for.
As we continue in this Season of Lent, of reflecting on the sacrifices that Christ made so that we might have life and have it more abundantly, you should know that God will never give you a vision that you are unable to fulfill. You can give yourself a vision for your life, and if it doesn’t align with God’s will, then you won’t fulfill it. That’s called a personal plan. But God’s vision, no matter how many obstacles you face, is specifically designed for you.
Let me offer three things to do when you find yourself doubting the vision:
(1) Pray that God will renew in you the right spirit (for a spirit of patience)
(2) Press your way through the doubt by believing God at God’s word
(3) Position yourself to worship while you wait
It’s easy to become dissuaded and wrestle with your God-given vision. If you are willing to pray, press your way through and position yourself as a worshiper while you wait, then you will see that your waiting period is really a preparation period that God needs for you to experience so that you will fully appreciate what God wants to do in you and through you!