This week I came across a passage in the Bible where the prophet Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1) prayed to God after being in distress behind the injustices he and his people faced. He asked the Lord the question, “How long?” It seems like a question that would get a straightforward answer but God sort of replies with an answer that implies, until. Until is a very insufficient reply when you’re tired of suffering, even more so when you’re weary and over burdened with problems only God can solve.
Habakkuk 1:2-4 How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and the justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
“Until” translated means “Trust me. I’ve got this”. When we cry out to the Lord we expect Him to answer immediately or at least to see signs that our situation is going to turn around. Until also means I’m using this time to prepare you. Just like the enemy used in times of oppression in the past to weigh down the righteous He does the same thing now. However this same oppressive force doesn’t realize or recognize that there is a God who helps us in all times and through all troubles.
One of the most notable times that come to mind was in the days of slave trading. Many slave owners introduced their slaves to the gospel of Jesus Christ in the hopes that it would cause them to be submissive to their demands and while some in the bondage of slavery did become more submissive many more found freedom through that same gospel and used it to get free. They taught them that for things to be easier for them that they had to be subject to mistreatment and totally obedient to their master. However in that same book the master (boss) is commanded to honor and serve God and not subject their servants (employees) to harsh or unfair treatment.
One of the trademarks of Jesus Christ was to help the oppressed and down-trodden. He was sent to help those who couldn’t help themselves. So He ended up being the refuge and hope for them in desperate situations. A far better answer to life’s problems than Habakkuk received and a more sufficient provision as well. “Until” is uncomfortable but that feeling ends up pushing you into a deeper level of trust with God. How do you know you really love the Lord if you’ve never seen Him work through your hard times? How do you really know you trust Him until your back is up against the wall?
“Until” will build more resilience and character in us than an immediate “yes” would. So when you pray to God and the answer seems to be until just know it is not an immediate denial just as God made the enemies of Jesus Christ His footstool to exalt Him. He uses those moments of pressing to infuse power into us.
So if you are going through a situation and you don’t know when it will turn around and get better just know that God is still going to bless you with an answer. It sometime just takes time for those things to run their course in our lives. Every trouble in your life has an expiration date but while going through it seems as if it will never end. I just wanted to encourage you and tell you in those moments to continue trusting in God.