Under the Circumstances

Did you hear about the man who when asked, “How are you?” responded with “Not bad under the circumstances.” Then his questioner laughed and said, “What in the world are you doing under there?”

If there is one thing the Lord has pressed on my heart over the last 2 years dealing with this tumor, it’s that I am NOT under my circumstances. We may choose to allow our circumstances to over come us.  We may feel like we are under our circumstances. However, the truth is that when I chose faith, I am NOT and do not have to be under my circumstances.

Habakkuk is a good example of someone who chose to not live under their circumstances.  The book of Habakkuk is one of those gems in the Old Testament that few Christians read.  It’s stuck in the back of the Old Testament along with the other minor prophetic books and often overlooked.  But I want to encourage you to find it and read it.  It’s well worth the 3 chapter investment.  In it, you will find how to live a life that is not under your circumstances.  You can read it online here.

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Little is known about Habakkuk’s life. We know less about Habakkuk than any other writer of the Bible. His name not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture. However, Rabbinic tradition holds that he might have been the Shunammite woman’s son who Elisha restored back to life in 2 Kings 4.  The story of the Widow’s Oil is one of my favorite.  So it’s fun for me to think that Habakkuk might have been her son.

Even though we dont’ know much about Habakkuk’s life, we do know from his book that he chose faith.  Habakkuk was faced with an impossible situation. Written someime in the later part of the 7th centure BC,  it’s a brilliant conversation between the Lord and Habakkuk concerning the Chaldeans (Babylon) who were coming to capture Jerusalem.

The Chaldeans were nasty people.  Suffice to say the Chaldeans had a reputation of violence and they were not someone you would want leading you off to captivity. Habakkuk is having trouble justifying why God would let such an atrocity happen.  He is heart broken and confused.  After all, they were God’s chosen people.  Israel had bragging rights.  They had a covenant with God.  So why would God let something so terrible happen to His people?

Habakkuk laments to the Lord.  “How long, Lord must I call for help, but you don’t listen? Or cry out to you “Violence (injustice) 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.” (Habakkuk 1:2-3)

The Lord answers him. “Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told.(Habakkuk 1:5)

The Lord openly confesses to Habakkuk just how terrible the Chaldeans are and just how bad it’s going to get.  Yep! You’re right, Habakkuk.  They are “feared and dreaded people; a law until themselves” but I’m going to use them.  So you’re just going to have to deal with it because when it’s all said and done it’s going to be glorious.

Habakkuk then argues with the Lord! But… but… but…. Have you ever argued with the Lord?  Even after getting a word from Him?  Even after getting an answer that He’s going to do something amazing, did you continue to question and doubt?  I know I have. Habakkuk did too.  It’s like Habakkuk’s heart had not quite caught up to him mind.

What finally gets him there?

“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” (Habakkuk 2:1)

This gives legs to the idea that those who wait on the Lord will be strengthened and renewed. Scripture doesn’t tell us how long Habakkuk waited.  I don’t know this for sure, but I imagine he spent several nights camped out on the ramparts of the city waiting for the Lord’s response.  What I do know is that in Habakkuk’s waiting, the Lord showed up.

He tells Habakkuk to write down the revelation He was about to receive.  Put it on tablets so it can be passed around to the people.  Then He makes a promise to His people. He promises that the hardship will one day end and that He will not let them fail. “Those it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3)

This is also where the Lord talks about living with the faith of God that is later quoted in Hebrews 10:28 to start off the “Faith of Fame” chapter.

So how does the story end?  Quite simply.

H: How can you let this happen, Lord?

The Lord: Simply put, I’m allowing it to grow you.

H: How can you let this happen, Lord?

The Lord: Simply put, I am with you and will you will not fail.

The ending, as all great stories, is the best part.  Habakkuk, in his despair, doubt and questioning begins to praise the Lord.

“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deed, Lord.  Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2)

Then the entire last chapter is a song of praise to the Lord. He resolves his doubt and lamenting with praise and surrender.  Beautiful.

Have you ever had a time in your life where you dug your heals in with the Lord? We camp out in our doubt and despair like a toddler who doesn’t get his way.  We can stay there arms folded proving a point. Or we can chose to let it go into the hands of a loving Father and let it end with praise and surrender.

That’s how we find resolution to our hopelessness, despair and our doubt.  Praise and surrender. Just like Habakkuk.

Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.  Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on 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. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.  (Habakkuk 3:16-19)

It’s also how we live a life where we are not under our circumstances.  A life where we are not victims to the things that happen around us.  Glory. That’s the life I want to live and the life I want to teach my kids to live.

© Dacian Keaton Ministires, 2019. All rights reserved.

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