Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Place of Pause

  

Chuck Swindoll shares that the book of Habakkuk is all about Habakkuk’s wrestling, waiting, praying, and praising.  It is a dialogue between a very burdened Habakkuk and God.

The two questions that not only Habakkuk, but we, invariably ask God that He most often never answers are “Why?” and “How long?” 

Habakkuk said “God, give me Your game plan” and God’s gracious answer was “If I gave you my game plan, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you.”

Habakkuk is confused, uncertain, and doesn’t know what to think anymore.  So, he makes the most important decision in his ministry.  He decides to say nothing, lie back, and wait on God.  He stations himself alone at his rampart and says to himself, “Apparently there is something cross-wired in my head and I need reproof from God.  Certainly there is confusion.  So, I’m going to wait for God to speak.” And it’s then after Habakkuk stops and waits for awhile that the Lord answers.

There is something significant about that word “answered” in the Hebrew translation of Habakkuk 2:2.  It conveys the idea of being favorable, docile, amenable in one’s response.  In other words, God smiled when He answered, “Oh, Habakkuk. I’m glad you stopped and listened.  I’m glad you waited.  That pleases me.  Now I’m ready to answer you.”

A wise sage once wrote:
In every life there is a pause that is better than onward rush.
Better than hewing or mightiest doing.
It’s the standing still at Sovereign will.
The pause and the hush sing double song in unison low and for all time long.
Oh, human soul, God’s working plan goes on nor needs the aid of man.
Stand still and see.
Be still and know.
 
We are perhaps never more effective in all our lives than when we make a determinate effort to STOP and REST in God.  And, it may be that there are times when God forces us to step aside and just wait on Him.

The Berkley Bible translating Psalm 40 renders it, I waited and waited for the Lord.  Then He bent over to me and heard my cry.  He brought me up from a destructive pit, from the miry clay and set my feet on a rock steadying my steps.”

A widow is thrown into that place of asking God not only “Why?!” but “God, what is Your game plan now?!”  For a long time there is too much fog to see ahead to even take the next step. When the fog finally begins to clear, the future is uncertain.  We don’t know who we are now.  More questions arise about ourselves as issues in our lives that we have never dealt with float to the surface.

If we truly want our hearts to be in tune with God, we are forced to stop wrestling and wait.  We tend to look at these places in our lives of pause and waiting as bad places, but God see those places as still waters where we stop, wait, and then sit quietly as He communes with us.
 
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes in the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
 
© 2013 by Candy Feathers. Used by permission. Visit her blog, Reflections From My Porch Swing for more of her writing and godly wisdom on life and widowhood.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for explaining this place so clearly. There are moments when I feel like God and Eddie has abandon me. I know it is not true but .... I would never had thought to look at this passage as the answer to where I am now on this journey.
    ...moving forward, the journey continues...

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    1. Vanessa, I would have never looked at that passage for the answer to this either. I was so thankful when I got an email linking me to hear this explained by Chuck Swindoll. So glad it helped you as well. It IS hard when we are feeling left behind.

      Candy

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  2. ..waiting is not my best virtue , it is a grace I have had to be taught...haven't yet arrived but pressing onward.
    Dodi

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  3. Dodi, I don't know of anyone who likes to wait. It's a matter of relinquishing my will to God's will and that is something I struggle with.

    Candy

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  4. Hi Candy thank you for this great article. I know I'm very disappointed in myself is a Christian to be feeling this and just wanting my husband so bad and wanting my old life back. So I constantly look at other couples and say why isn't that me now why is my husband gone.
    thank you for letting me say what I need to say and having somewhere to say it and with others who have walked this path.
    When my husband and I would talk about our futures without each other you can only imagine what you thought it would be like. as a Christian woman with my faith and knowing where he is you think it would give me some comfort, it does but the pain that we have to endure when we're the ones left behind most times is so terrible isolating, and lonely and sad.When I am pulled by the ripping and tearing from him, I ask God to send him to take me to heaven with him...
    I wake up every morning saying how my going to get through this day I just going through the motions my dreams are my reality and everyday is my nightmare . I look around at all our friends and family and my husband the only one that's missing. I pray everyday and I know after the grief is over I will find a purpose but without him right now it's so unbearable. I just walk around like a zombie. I know everyone's grief is different and every situation is so different but please pray for me and this was a great article I will read it over and over again. God Bless you

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  5. Hello. You sound like you have just recently lost your husband. I so remember feeling exactly the way you do. I thought that as a believer I should not be feeling that way and was so concerned about disappointing God. My Christian psychologist Dr. Dan assured me that God is big enough to handle anything that I am feeling and was not ashamed of me. You have to remember that you are only human and your grief is so deep because your love is so deep. The more you loved your husband and the greater the bond you had with him, the greater your grief will be.

    Right now early on in your grief it's natural to yearn to be with your husband. It's a time where a widow is set apart to think back over all of the time that she has had with her husband. You'll find yourself going over and over and over incidents in your life. That's called processing and a huge part of the grieving process.

    It's also a time where you are numb and in a fog. You can't think straight, don't remember things, can't hold a thought for very long, can't sleep, may not want to eat.....you just aren't functioning well. And that's ok because again, it's a part of this process.

    Right now be your own best friend. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend who had just lost her husband. Be good to yourself. Cry! Cry! Cry as much as you need to because crying is so healing and such a relief. Be sure to make yourself get out of bed in the morning and try to establish some kind of normal routine. This is what helps us keep going. If you want to email me privately, contact Ferree at WCplace@gmail.com and she'll put you in touch with me.

    Candy

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  6. Thank you Candy I will God Bless you.

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  7. This is so encouraging...God bless you!

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  8. I once heard a lady say. . . . "if we have a pulse then we have a purpose".

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    1. That phrase gave me a grin, but then I realized it's really pretty profound! Thanks for sharing! It's a keeper!

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    2. Thank you for sharing that statement. It really touched my heart!

      Candy

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    3. I remember reading that verse from Habakkuk shortly after my husband died and visualizing the barren fig tree, the grapevine with no grapes, the fields with no crops, and the empty sheep pen. They seemed to described the feeling of my empty heart and the spiritual void in my life. I thank God that He was there even in the times I didn't FEEL him.
      This was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    4. Yes, that's the feeling I had as well....complete emptiness. I, too, am so glad that God was there with me in that void and continues to be with me now and forever. Thank you for sharing your heart here.

      Candy

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