When We Ask and Don’t Like God’s Answer
I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans . . . Habakkuk 1:5-6
Whenever I’ve struggled with some self-destructive behavior, I’ve always gone to God, asking for him to simply remove it. I prefer a painless surgical excision of my struggle without any cost to me. God has usually not answered the way I’ve desired. Usually, he’s showed me some way in which I must obey to experience the transformation I seek.
In the case of my drug addiction, I had to go to treatment. I had to radically change my life and I still go to meetings. In the case of my food addiction, I continue to work daily at preparing the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones. I have yet to magically prefer broccoli over pizza, so I still must expend effort to experience change. This is not my plan. It’s God’s. He is, after all, God, and only he knows what’s best for me.
Habakkuk, in today’s passage, didn’t get the answer he was looking for either. Having complained to God about the evil his people perpetrated against each other, Habakkuk expected God to intervein. God responded that he was raising up an enemy, the Chaldeans, whom he was going to use as his rod of discipline. This was not Habakkuk’s plan. This cure was worse than the disease. This was God’s plan though.
Most of us have been here. When we experience a conflict, we imagine the easy solution, and we ask God for it. I’m ready for my miracle now! It’s not wrong to take our requests to God. Even Christ did so on the night before his own crucifixion. Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus told God what he wanted but deferred to the father’s will. Praying in faith then, is asking for what we desire, expecting an answer, while simultaneously and paradoxically surrendering to God’s will. We may not always get the answer we like, but in faith, we must still obey and follow. He is, after all, God and therefore, is the only one who always knows what’s best for us.