Day 06: Tough Times, Tough People: Habakkuk, Paul, Us

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

Q: What do you see as you look out of your window?

A: Looking out my lounge window, I see a beautiful sunny day with no wind, an unusual situation for Port Elizabeth, known as South Africa’s “Windy City”.

I wonder what Habakkuk saw as he looked around? Let’s read on

Habakkuk 1:3,4 CEV

‘Why do you allow violence, lawlessness, crime, and cruelty to spread everywhere? Laws cannot be enforced; justice is always the loser; criminals crowd  out honest people and twist the laws around.’ 

 “Tough times never last…but tough people do!” Dr. Robert Schuller  

Tough Times

In the opening verses of Habakkuk, we met a man of God, who was finding life tough. He was in despair because the Jews were not living in accordance with the Mosaic law. Yet he dreaded God’s threatened discipline. But he didn’t hesitate to voice his complaints to God about the injustice of the situation. He’d had enough.How about you?

I’m sure finding our locked-down lives tough in many ways. And yet I’ve had it easier than most. How about you? Give each of the following questions some thought. If you’re in a group, spend a few minutes discussing each.

  • What has been the worst aspect of Covid-19 for you? 
  • How do you generally react to the distressing situations that confront you?

In desperation, Habakkuk cried out to God: “God! Where are you?”

  • Have you ever done this? Or felt this way?

Tough People

When God seems to ignore your requests how do you respond?

       Do you

  • keep on praying?
  • stop praying? After all, God doesn’t seem to be listening, so why keep praying?
  • share the problem with a Christian friend?
  • go ahead and try to deal with the situation on your own?

Many of us have been brought up to show a stiff upper lip when life gets difficult.

We’ve been

  • encouraged to hide our feelings
  • to live behind a mask
  • discouraged from being open and honest
  • taught to present a picture of a person who is in complete control.

The result is that when we are in a state of panic, confused, frustrated, really hurting down deep inside and in need of help, we give the impression that everything is okay. So no one helps. Why would they? They don’t know we need it.

Should We Always Be Tough?

In Philippians 1:13, Paul says this: “As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.” Paul was also having a tough time. But notice, he didn’t keep it to himself. The whole palace guard and everyone else knew what he was going through—and why.

When you meet someone and they ask you, “How are you?” what is your stock answer? Do you trot out with the stock answer? “Fine thanks!” Despite the fact that you may not be feeling well, you may be heart-sore, or angry.  Perhaps you’re discouraged or in deep despair. You could be drowning in financial debts. But . . . . “Fine thanks!”

Okay, we all know people that when you ask them how they are, you fervently wish you’d kept your mouth shut! So we need to be selective over whom we spill out our woes to, and even then, be selective about how much we share. Especially in the middle of a shop!

A friend of ours recently was asked by her minister in passing how she was. “Fine thank you!” she responded. Then she realised she really wasn’t fine. She had a major problem, and it related to an area he was involved in. To his surprise, she suddenly turned and said to his retreating back, “Actually, that’s not true. I’m not fine!”

Surprised, the man of God immediately ushered her into his office where he invited her to share her issues with him, and hopefully the matter will now be sorted out. But it would never have been dealt with if she hadn’t been open.

How are you? Really? Pastor Rob suggests a step to recovery based on the book of Habakkuk. Please Retweet. Click To Tweet

First Step to Recovery

That brings us to an important step on the road to recovery from a situation that has thrown your normal pattern of life into turmoil. Be open! We need to honestly admit when we could use an extra prayer or six. 

So –

  • Be honest with yourself. Recognize that you are not totally “fine thanks!”
  • Be honest with God. He already knows your struggles. So talk to Him. Take a leaf out of Habakkuk’s book and tell Him what’s bothering you. Ask for His help—and listen for His response.
  • Be honest with someone you can trust. On more than one occasion, my wife, Shirley, or I have gone to a friend after praying for guidance from the Lord and shared our hurts or confusion. Sometimes they’ve come up with helpful advice. Other times, they’ve just prayed with us. But oh how it helps.  The following well-known phrase is so true:

A problem shared is a problem halved

So . . .

How are you? If you’re not Fine thanks! the first step is, to be honest with yourself. Spend some time considering the question. What’s bothering me?

Now be honest with God. Ask Him if there’s someone you should chat to, or if He has another plan for you. Then follow through.

Finally, if He shows you someone you can trust, pick up that phone and arrange to get together

Without going into details, drop a short answer in the comment section below.

How are you?

I’ll get back to you and if you like, I’ll pray for your need. 

If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together.

9 comments on “Day 06: Tough Times, Tough People: Habakkuk, Paul, Us

  1. I’m fine if I look at the big picture, which makes me grateful for mine and my family’s health, not fine if I look at the tiny stuff that I make into something big.

    • Thanks Shirl, I am simply amazed at how Habakkuk’s situation ties in so closely to the world pandemic at present.

  2. Thank you for this, Pastor Rob
    I am always amazed at how great characters from the Bible, like Habakkuk, David and even Moses, did not refrain from making their complaints clear to God. It teaches me that God’s love is strong enough to handle our “meltdowns”. He is a safe place where we can just be without pretend. And He is always ready to catch us, or put us back together again, and lift us out of the pit.

    • Yes Madeleine its great to know that none of our moans and groans alter God’s love for us

  3. Yes, Habakkuk has been a great example when times are tough. I love the place where he says, write the vision on the wall, and although it won’t happen quickly, it will eventually happen! Having someone to share tough times with is wonderful, and God gave us relationships that we have flesh and blood to talk it out with.

    • Thanks for your comments Deryn. Shirl and I haave found it great to have one another’s company particularly in tough times.

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