Craig Groeschel - Waiting on God
So what do you do when you find yourself hitting a spiritual wall? When, with everything in you, you want to believe in the goodness of God, but what you see with your eyes is different than what you wanna believe in your heart? What do you do when you find yourself wrestling with doubts, when what you always thought was true, you're not quite sure is true. What do you do when you wanna believe that God is good, but life is not. That's what we're talking about over these few weeks. We're in one of the most raw and honest books of the Bible. We're studying the book of Habakkuk. Last week we were in Habakkuk chapter one. If you were with us, Habakkuk one is not a sitcom sermon. Who knows what a sitcom sermon is? Sitcom, all the problems are resolved in 30 minutes or less, including commercial breaks.
Chapter one is not a sitcom sermon. You're still hanging. We're in chapter two today. There's three chapters in the book of Habakkuk. Chapter two, not a sitcom sermon. A lot of people said last week was difficult. It was raw. It was hard to handle. If you didn't like last week's message, you're really not gonna like this one. I want you to lean to your neighbor and say, you're not gonna like this one. Welcome to Life Church, we're here to make you feel good about yourself. We're in Habakkuk chapter two. Alright, Habakkuk one, don't walk away from God, in chapter one. Chapter two, don't quit on God, in chapter two. Chapter one was all about wondering. God, I know you can, I believe you will, but you're not, and I don't understand why you're not. Chapter two is all about waiting. Wondering is difficult. Waiting is even more difficult.
If you missed last week, let me give you a little back story on the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk is a minor prophet. He lived and wrote and prophesied about 600 years before the birth of Christ. Most prophets would do this, they would speak to the people on behalf of God. This is what God says to you, people. Habakkuk was different. He didn't speak to the people on behalf of God, instead, he actually spoke to God on behalf of the people, and said, God, I don't understand why you're not, I don't think this is fair. You're supposed to be a just God, but I'm not really sure you are. Where are you God? Why aren't you doing what I think you should do? His people, the people of Judah, at one time they were blessed and prosperous, but now there was tremendous corruption and they were suffering greatly. And so Habakkuk cries out, God, deliver us, essentially. And God says, okay, I'm about to do something, and you're not gonna believe it. It's gonna amaze you. If I told you, you wouldn't even believe it.
And so if I'm Habakkuk, I'm thinking, finally God's gonna come through. He's gonna answer my prayers. Everything's gonna be great, we're gonna be happy, live our blessed lives, and God says, I'm gonna raise up your enemy. People who are even worse than you are, the Babylonians. And they're gonna issue judgment upon you. He's like beside himself. This doesn't make sense. This isn't the God that I wanna believe in. Chapter one, he's wondering, why don't you do what I want you to do. Chapter two, he's waiting. God, when are your promises gonna come true? Let me tell you what I'm reading on right now. Besides the very personal story I told you about non-stop, because my world is a wreck because of our daughter. I'm waiting on my friend, Eric. That's not his real name. Don't wanna embarrass him. But Eric is a strong follower of Christ and he made some bad decisions, and betrayed his marriage vows, and now he's not sure what he wants to do with his life. Does he want to go back or does he want to go with a new person?
And my heart breaks for him and for his wife and for his children, and we're all praying and believing that he will hear the Spirit of God, and he'll do the right thing, and so far, he's not. Brian and Carissa, they're on our staff. Pastor Brian is the pastor of Life Church Keller. His precious seven-year-old daughter, Macy, had 31 seizures in a day. No diagnosis. Last week she was at the same doctor in New Mexico my daughter, Mandy, went to. We're praying for a diagnosis and believing. Waiting, waiting, God. Touch this precious little girl. Then there's Luke. Luke's my buddy. Luke is 11 years old. Luke has inoperable brain tumor, brain cancer. And it's affecting his eyesight, and all sorts of other things. This is Luke. He came to my office before he moved away two weeks ago. This is us hanging out, and this is us havin' fun. Just me and Luke. Precious kid. Luke has led so many kids to Christ on his floor at the hospital. He's bravely endured chemo. He's a champion of kids. We sat right over here in the seat on Luke's last week.
I went up to him before he moved away, and I didn't know what to say. Having never said this before to anybody. I just grabbed his shoulders, I just looked him in the eye. I said, you're a hero to me, and then I just said, you have my heart, because he does. Like, he's got my heart. So Luke came into my office on Monday and he made me a painting. He gave me this. Little Luke. And so, Luke has my heart. And I'm waiting and praying and believing that God will hear our prayers and do a miracle in little Luke's body, because we have so much faith, and little Luke trusts Jesus so much. What do you do when you're wondering, when you're waiting. I wrote what is probably the most personal book that I've ever written. It's out on Tuesday, Hope in the Dark, Believing God is Good When Life is Not. It's all based on the book of Habakkuk.
If your life is good, if everything's up and right, this book is not for you. This book is for those who are wondering and those who are waiting. It is available still at some Life Churches. If you buy it here, all the proceeds go to the church. If you wanna buy it online, Amazon, Mardel, and such, it's available there. If you know someone who is hurting, I pray it will speak to them. What do you do when you're stuck, when you're hurting? Today what I wanna do is get into chapter two. I wanna look at three different things that God's word tells us to do, very specifically, three things Habakkuk does, when you're hurting, when you're wondering, when you don't know what to do.
Let me show you the first thing that we're gonna see to do. Some of you, this is what you need to do. You're hurting, you're wondering. The first thing we see is Habakkuk is going to listen to God. What I like about this is that when God's not doing what you wanna do, some people walk away. Some people doubt God. Some people quit on God. But Habakkuk doesn't do any of those things. Instead, what he does is he positions himself in the most strategic place to see the hand of God and to hear the voice of God. Verse one of Habakkuk two. He says, I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts. I'm gonna be in the best possible place to see the hand of God and hear the voice of God. He says, I will look to see what he, I will look to see what God will say to me. This isn't easy to do when you're hurting, because when you're hurting, what you wanna do is you wanna tell God to do what you want him to do, and know he should do.
God reach Eric and draw him home. God, touch little Macy and heal her from seizures. God, bring healing to little Luke. If you do, we'll bring you glory and we'll brag on you. And God, if you don't, I don't know how I can defend you, God. It's really difficult to talk about your goodness when you don't do what I know you could do. You want to tell God what to do. Instead of telling him what to do at those times, it's important to listen to him. Our God is a God who speaks. God can speak through his word. If you're a follower of Christ, I would beg you to be in his word every single day, to feed on his word. Open up your You Version app, get your plan, and just feed on his word. He speaks to you, speaks to you. He'll speak to you through his Spirit. He can speak audibly. I've never heard the audible voice of God, but he can speak to you in your soul and your spirit in a way, sometimes it's even louder than if it were audible. He can speak through people. He can speak through circumstances. He can speak through a message. He can speak through a song. He will speak to you. If he doesn't, don't panic. Just because he's silent does not mean he is absent. He is always there. He's always with you. Listen for the voice of God.
Now let me just warn you, and be real honest with you. Sometimes when you hear from him, he's gonna tell you something that you don't wanna hear. Which is exactly what he did to Habakkuk. You're gonna do something amazing, and then God says, yeah. I'm gonna raise up your enemy, the people who are worse than you, and they're gonna bring judgment upon you. That's not what I was looking for, God. God, I asked you to do this, and you're doing the opposite. That's not what I wanted to hear. Sometimes God will speak to you and he will say something you don't want to hear. The apostle, Paul, in the New Testament. There's probably no better example of a guy who deserved for God to do what he asked him to do. He had something called a thorn in his side. We don't know what it is. Theologians guess it was blindness or an addiction or a pain or depression, all sorts of different things. We don't know what it was. But he begged, pleaded with God three times. Seasons of pleading, take it away, God. I'll do anything, God, have mercy on me. Take it away, take it away, take it away.
And God spoke to him and God did not say yes, but God said, no. You asked, but my answer is no. And then God said, my grace is enough for you. He didn't say what Paul wanted to hear. If I'm Paul, I'm pushing back a little bit. Do you remember who I am? I'm Paul. I don't want your grace, I want your power. Peter, he needs your grace. Remember, he denied you, uno, dos, tres? Give him your grace, give me your power. Thomas, Mr. I'm not gonna believe unless I see, give him your grace. I want your power. Do you remember what I did for you? Ever feel like that? You think for a minute, with my daughter sick, it hadn't crossed my mind? God, you remember what my family's doing for you? Won't you get on with it, do something for us? I mean, I'm just telling you, if this is too real, I'm sorry.
If I'm Paul, I'm like, okay, I was beaten for you, so many times I was left for dead, whipped across my back, shipwrecked, snake bitten. You know how I feel about snakes. I was stoned, and not recreationally speaking. I need to say that for many of you. Oh, praise the Lord. I can suffer for Jesus too, you know. No. It's a medical condition. After all I've been through for you, give me your power. No. I'm gonna give you my grace. What you want is not what I'm gonna give you. But what I'm gonna give you is so much better. Listen. Listen, listen. Then, God's gonna show us, once we hear what he's saying. Number one, we listen. Number two, we write. We write it down. We document it. We record what God says to us. And this is the very thing that God says to Habakkuk. The Lord replied to Habakkuk and said what? Say it aloud with me all of our churches. He said, write down the revelation and make it plain on the tablets. Document it, record it, write it down.
Why do we do this? Because we have a spiritual enemy whose mission is to steal, to kill, and to destroy. Our spiritual enemy wants to take from you what God gives to you. God will give you a word. God will give you faith. God will give you a moment of peace. And our enemy wants to take away from you the very word that God gives to you. And this happens all the time. For some of you, it was last week. You were in church. You heard from God, God spoke to you. God blessed you. God gave you faith. God moved you. You got in the car. You drove out. Your kids were fighting. He's touching me. Don't let him touch me. Draw a line in there. You looked back. You came home. You're like, did God really speak to me, or is that something else? You got distracted. Satan wants to take from you what God gives to you. Write it down, document it, put it on paper. Go back to it, hang onto it, believe it, claim it, embrace it, live in it. Don't let your enemy take it from you.
This is something that Amy and I have been hanging onto months ago with our daughter, Mandy, hurting, in agony every day, in pain. God told Amy very clearly to rejoice and thank him for the healing that Mandy does not yet have. So you know what she did? She wrote it down in her journal, date, time, moment, and months later, we can go back and look to that moment. Whenever Satan wants to get us to doubt, to fear, to walk away, we go back and say, no, there it is on that day, in that moment. We're like Paul and Silas in prison. Long before the shackles come free, we're praising God in advance before we see the miracle, we're thanking him for his goodness. Listen to what God will say to you. Write it down. And then the third thing is difficult. It is no fun. It's where some of you are living right now. It's where my family is living right now. You listen, you write, and then God's gonna say, you wait. You wait. Wondering is no fun. Waiting is much worse. You wait and you wait and you wait on the faithfulness of God.
Some of you right now, you're waiting. Will my child ever come back to Christ? You're waiting, praying. What you wanna see, you don't see, you see the opposite. Is God ever gonna hear the cry of my heart, and give me the marriage that I want to have? Is God ever gonna give me a job with benefits? Is God ever gonna stop the migraines? Is God gonna ever help take me out of this depression that holds me down? You wait. Verse three of Habakkuk two is one of my favorite verses. This is what scripture says. God says this. God says, for the revelation awaits an appointed time. Somebody say, appointed time. The revelation awaits an appointed time. It speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it. Though it linger, wait for it. It will certainly come and not delay. Though it linger, wait for it. I was talking to a guy at the gym and he told me he's waiting on his wife. I said, where is she? He said, I haven't met her yet, I'm waiting on her. I'm waiting on her. And I said, I get that. He said, you don't understand. I'm waaaaaiiiiiiting on her. I said, oh yeah, I understand. Waiting, dating, and the deep desire for mating. He said, that's exactly why I'm waiting.
Some of you are there right now, though it linger. Seems like it's taking forever. Though it linger, wait for him. Though it linger, wait for her. And while you're waiting, may I remind you, single is a whole number. In other words, you don't need somebody else to help you be fruitful and faithful for the glory of God. Single is a whole number. And may I also remind you, God may be preparing someone really special for you, and the best meals take a little longer to prepare. In other words, your gourmet dessert may be baking as we speak. Though it linger, wait for that alarm to go off before, I'm gonna end this metaphor before I say something inappropriate about eating. Well, anyway. Forget that, just wait for it.
I love the way the Living Bible translates that very same verse. This is what it says, it says this. God says, but the things I plan won't happen right away. Then God says, slowly steadily, surely, as the time approaches, when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient. They will not be overdue a single day. At the appointed time, God will deliver. At the appointed time, he will respond. At the appointed time, he will do his perfect will. At the appointed time. In fact, I love the word in the Hebrew that's translated as appointed time, it's the word mo-aid, and it literally means perfect, unstoppable timing of God. When it's the mo-aid, it's coming. Kind of like whenever Amy gave birth to our third child, Anna, and she was about to get her epidural, and then she said, the baby's coming, and we need to like get an epidural, and she never got an epidural after that. She said, she felt so close to God having a baby.
I don't understand that. I think she needs counseling. If I'm giving birth, I want drugs and more drugs, but no, Amy feels close to God in pain, whatever that means. And so she looks at me and she says, the baby's coming. I said, I'll go get a doctor. She said, no, you're not gonna get a doctor. I said I'll hurry. She said, no, you're delivering the baby. And I said, no you're not. And she said, yes you are. And so I delivered the baby. God is my witness, she's screaming and pushing herself off the back of the bed. I'm running to the back of the bed pushing her head down, running to the place like that. I'm in the ready position like I'm gonna catch a ground ball. At that moment, literally, Anna came out, and I had her head, and then I dropped her only this far, but I did drop her. Technically, I was the closest human being when she came out, so I delivered her. At the appointed time, it's gonna happen. The mo-aid you can't stop it.
Always remember, if it's not God's time, you can't force it. When it is God's time, you can't stop it. Though it linger, wait for it. His timing is perfect. You may say, it takes forever. I continue to wait. I'm not seeing it. It's not coming to pass. Well, I hope you'll remember if you're in the waiting zone, which is where I am, when you're trying to hang on to your faith and you're not seeing anything, and you're getting impatient, and you're starting to wonder, and you're wondering and then you're waiting, and you're wrestling, where is God? Remember, God's delays are not God's denials. Just because you haven't seen it, does not mean God is not going to do it. Though it linger, wait for it. Though it linger, wait for it. At God's appointed time it will come to pass.
Verse four, many theologians say this is the most important verse in all of Habakkuk. It's not my favorite, but maybe it's the most important. Habakkuk is beside himself. The Babylonians are bad. When are they gonna get their due? And if you read in Habakkuk two, there's what's known as the five woes of Babylon. Basically God says, I'm gonna get 'em, I'm gonna get 'em, I'm gonna get 'em, I'm gonna get 'em. They're gonna get theirs. I am a just God. Habakkuk is waiting. God when are you gonna bring justice on us? When are you gonna bring justice on them? I don't understand. He's confused. And this is what God says. God acknowledges the Babylonians are evil. See, the enemy, Babylon, is puffed up. His desires are not upright. But God's not talking to them, He's talking to Habakkuk. And he says, but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness, will live by God's faithfulness.
In the New Testament, scripture says, the righteous will live by faith. The righteous will live by faith. We don't walk by sight, we walk by faith. Our faith is not based on what we see, or what we want, or getting our desired outcome. Our faith is based on the character and the goodness and the nature of God. We live by faith. We live by faith. We live by faith. Pastor Brian, Carissa, in Life Church Keller, you're living by faith. Pastor Brian's wife posted this on little Macy, the girl with the seizures. If you look to the left, August second, she's counting the seizures early in the day. And this is what little Macy's mom wrote. On the hard days, when the seizure count is over 15 by noon, you have to remind yourself that God is good. And she quotes the lyrics from the song that our church wrote. "Even in the unknown, I know that you're good. Even in the waiting, you are good".
My favorite parts of the song, I cried all the way through it today, is "even in the waiting, you're good. I will lift my hands while I'm waiting. Louder than my fears, I will sing. May my heart ever be reminded, you are good". The righteous will live by faith. Even though I don't see with my eyes, I fight to trust you, God, with my heart. Even though everything I want you to do, you're not doing, I wait for it. I wait for your goodness. I wait for your glory to be revealed. Though I linger, wait for it. Though it's still not coming, wait for it. Wait for it. Habakkuk is disturbed, confused, upset, angry, feels betrayed, questioning, doubting, trying to hang on. And then he says three words in verse 20, almost as if he's reminding himself, God is still in charge. He says, but the Lord. Everybody say, but the Lord. But God is in his holy temple. Even though I don't get it. Even though things aren't going the way I think they should.
I remind myself, but God is still in his holy temple. No matter what I see, I choose faith. No matter what I feel, I choose faith. Even in my doubts, I will lift my hands. I don't see a way, but with God, there's always a way. I am aching, but in my heart I choose to trust God. I don't see what I wanna see, but because of the faithfulness of God, I will choose to walk by faith. I don't understand this, but I believe with everything in me, my God is still good. But God is still on the throne. Because he is still there, I can worship him before I see him move. I can praise him before I see him. Even in the waiting, I believe that he is good. So I was talking to Mandy, my daughter. And I said, I'm so proud of you. I'm so proud. I know that when God allowed this. When I said the word allowed, she kind of tensed up, and I just kept talking. I said I know that God allowed this in your life, but the way you're enduring it, honors God. Your faith is so strong, and you're enduring with such integrity.
She said, Dad, I just have to stop you. Your theology is off. Oh it is, young one? Correct my theology, sweetheart. She said, I don't say God is allowing this in my life. She said, do you see the difference I'm able to make in so many people's lives, like literally, she's ministering to thousands of people online through this. As she's hurting daily, she's ministering. She said, no, I believe God chose me for this, because he knew that he could be glorified through it. And then she said, Daddy, I'm not enduring. Enduring to me is passive. Something's happening to me, and I'm just hangin' on to it. She said, Daddy, with everything in me, I'm embracing this. I'm embracing this.
Habakkuk. Do you remember what Habakkuk means? Habakkuk does not mean wrestling and enduring, but the very name Habakkuk it means to wrestle and to embrace. To wrestle, I don't like this. I would give anything if it would be different. But to hang on, God I don't understand, but I'm not letting go. Chapter one in the wondering, don't walk away from God in chapter one. Chapter two in the waiting, don't quit on God in the waiting. Though it linger, wait for it. If it's not God's time, you can't force it. When it is God's time, you can't stop it. He is still good in the waiting. So in my mind, is 99% wrestling. It's time, God, do it now. But there is the one part in me, because of who God is, I will not let go. I will not let go. I will embrace even in the doubts, even in the pain, even when I don't understand.
There's somebody here, what do you need to do? Go ahead, wrestle, wrestle. But don't let go of God. Chapter one, wondering, wondering is so difficult. Don't walk away in one. Waiting is even more difficult. Don't quit on God. Next week is chapter three. What happens in chapter three? Oh, you have to be here next week to find out what happens in chapter three. Remember, you cannot have chapter three without chapter one and without chapter two. Don't walk away from God in chapter one. Don't quit on God in chapter two. He's big enough to handle the wrestling, but continue to embrace. So, Father, we ask that you would speak in a way that only you can. God, we wanna hear, even if what you say is not what we want to hear God speak. We'll record it, write it down, document it. This is what you say. And God, we wait on your promises. We wait on your goodness. We wait on your faithfulness, God, we wait on you.
And all of our churches, those of you who might be waiting right now, could be for something in your own life, a prayer request, a need, a burden. It could be for somebody that you love, one of your children, for a relationship, for someone in your life group, for someone you work with, for a buddy at school, for someone else's relative, for someone in your office. You're waiting, you're praying, you're believing, and you're still not seeing. You may want God's power, but he may give you grace. And all of our churches, those who are trying to hang on during the waiting, I would be honored to pray with you. If you're waiting, trying to trust, trying to hang on, would you lift up your hands right now, just all of our different churches. Lift up your hands in a moment of faith before God.
Father, I pray, I pray, God, that you would speak. Speak somehow through this message. God, speak daily through your word. God, speak through the people in our life group. God, speak through circumstances. God, speak. And when you do, God, we'll record it. My God has given me the word, and I'll hang on to it. God, give us the strength. Help us not just to endure in the waiting, but, God, help us to embrace, to hang onto you. God, if we want power, and you give us grace, we thank you, God, for the grace. We thank you for the grace. And God, we will worship you even before we see the miracle, and if we never see the miracle we want, God, we'll continue to worship you. Because our faith isn't based on us getting what we want, God, our faith is based on your character, your nature, your goodness, God. Help us to see, God, that you are good, even in the waiting, God, we can lift our hands and remind ourselves, God, you are good.
As you keep praying today at all of our churches, here's what's amazing to me. You might be waiting on something right now, but think about this. For some of you, God is waiting on you. God is waiting on you. Many of you, if we just kind of sat down and had an honest conversation, and I asked where do you stand with God? You might say, yeah, I believe in him, I think. Or I'm not really sure. But if you're really honest, no matter what your beliefs, you're not walking with him. You're not faithfully following his son, Jesus. But maybe if you look back through your life, and I ask you questions, you might say, yeah, there was this time when I was a kid and I kind of felt like God was drawing me. Or I heard this song and I felt like God was trying to get my attention. Or I had this car wreck or something went wrong or God saved me from something, I felt like God was trying to get my attention. God was trying to draw me near to him, and let me just tell you right now, if you've ever felt like that, you're right.
God desires that every single one of us would know him intimately. All throughout your life, God has been reaching out to you. Scripture says that he is patient, he's waiting. He doesn't want anyone to do life without him. He doesn't want anyone to exist in eternity without his grace in his presence, he's waiting. Whenever the son in Luke 15 wandered away from the father, the father waited patiently day after day. Will my son come back? Will my son come home? Will my son come home? This is a picture of the love of God for some. He is waiting on you to say yes to his love. He's waiting on you to say yes to his grace. Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God, perfect in every way. He died, gave his life, and everyone waited. Where is he? They waited another day, where is he? On the third day, when the stone was rolled away, the tomb was empty. He has risen, why? So that anyone, and this includes you, who calls on his name would be saved, forgiven, made new.
All of our churches, there are those of you, God is waiting on you. Now is the time, the appointed time. If it's not God's time, you can't force it. When it is, you can't stop it. Some of you realize it is your time. Now is the moment to say yes, turn from your sins, turn to your Savior, give your life completely to him. All of our churches, no playing around. This is the time, this is the moment, you know it. Today, by faith, I give my life to Jesus. That's your prayer, lift your hands high. Now all over the place, lift them up and say yes. Here in the middle section, God bless you. Right over here on this side, others of you. Lift 'em up and cry out. Right back over here. All of our churches say yes, I need Jesus. Church online, you click right below me. Others of you, you're leaning into it, this is the moment. Cry out and say yes, Jesus, I give my life to you. All of our churches, would you just pray together. Nobody prays alone.
Heavenly Father, I surrender my whole life to you. Forgive my sins. Make me new. Be first, the Lord of my life. Fill me with your spirit so I can follow you and live for you. My life isn't mine. I give it to you. Thank you for new life. Now you have mine. In Jesus' name I pray.