1 The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’
but you do not save?
3 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.
4 Therefore the law is paralysed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
It’s one of the great cries of the Old Testament: “How long, Lord…?”
It is also regularly one of the anguished heart cries of Christian experience.
But God’s timescale is His own and not ours.
Many years ago, when Alex Haley’s book, ‘Roots’, was turned into a highly acclaimed television series, he was asked by an interviewer, ‘What is the secret of your success?’ He replied that he didn’t really know, but he remembered what his old grandmother used to say, “You never know when the Lord is going to come, but He is always on time.”
The problem of unanswered prayer may be nothing other than the problem of a delayed answer to prayer – and we don’t like waiting.
As we will see, Habakkuk was to get his answer, but when it came he didn’t like it. It seemed to be worse than the problem he prayed about!
Prayer: Lord, help me to pray with prophetic insight – to turn what I see on the news into heartfelt prayer.
P.S. I apologise for moving away from 1 Corinthians so quickly, but I’ve written this week about the need to follow the Spirit’s leading, and I sense that I need to move in another direction. Thank you for bearing with me in this.