Permission To Speak Freely – Part Two
I am a fan of space movies and have watched most of the Star Trek series on television and the big screen. I enjoy the plot of each episode or movie and the action. It stretches my imagination and helps me to wonder about the universe. When the situation is difficult or demanding in the story often a junior officer will say to the senior commander “Permission to speak freely.” This means off the record and deep, personal honesty usually with some risk.
Habakkuk, as we saw yesterday, is having one of those “permission to speak freely” times with his superior officer and “boss” – the God of Israel. He is going through a deep valley and is questioning what is happening to him and his people. Wondering where God is in all the things that are happening. And, as we saw, it has been quite a conversation. It might be good to reread yesterday’s blog to refresh your memory. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I agree with C.S. Lewis that God’s highest agenda is not our immediate happiness. I believe that God is much more committed to our eternal joy, our spiritual growth, and the condition of our hearts. This means what we need to grow out of spiritual infancy into a richer, ever-maturing belief in a God who is infinitely wiser than we are. We need to learn to trust Him even when we can’t feel Him, believe in Him even when He doesn’t make sense, and follow Him even though we’re not sure where He’s leading us.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). As counterintuitive as this may sound, I don’t think James is telling us just to suck it up and keep going. I think he is reminding us of that bigger picture, the larger story, that sense that something greater is going on than the trial we find ourselves caught up in. Here’s something curious: James don’t tell us that we can’t ask God what’s going on; he tells us only to count our problem as joy.
The point, as Habakkuk seems to have grasped, is asking honest questions while also trusting God and His Word. Think about it: you can have a sincere faith in God even as you are wrestling with unanswered questions. God is big enough to handle it. And He loves you enough to be patient with you as you learn about parts of His character that were too deep for you to comprehend before your crisis of belief.
Apparently, this prophet was also willing to listen when God responded. The good news is that God will meet you in your moment of greatest need. Just as He responded to Habakkuk, He will respond to you. In fact, God has plenty to say to us about how we should face our trials – the valleys we walk through. Again, He never says we can’t ask Him our honest questions. On the contrary, Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8)
So if you have questions, ask away.
Just be prepared when God answers.