Advent 2021: Promises from Habakkuk

I am not good at waiting. I’m not a naturally patient person. And yet, Advent is one of my favorite times of year. A season that is ALL about anticipation, all about waiting. A season that we’re about to enter into. 

This year instead of just reading about Advent, I wanted to write about it. Because as I’ve been studying the book of Habakkuk, I’ve realized how poignantly this book of the Bible, though only three chapters, reflects the longing of Advent.

The first two words in the book are “How long?” The prophet Habakkuk was living in a time of great injustice and evil towards God’s people. So it makes sense that he would ask God that question. How long will injustice seem to have the upper hand? How long will you remain silent to our cries? How long will evildoers get away with it?

These questions don’t seem that far off. Even though this exchange between God and Habakkuk was thousands of years ago, I’ve found myself asking similar questions today. When racial injustice prevails, when COVID doesn’t feel like it will ever go away, when opinions are splitting our country and the church, when bad things happen to good people… how long? Those first four verses from this small Old Testament book might be more relatable than we had imagined.

Obviously the story doesn’t end with the questions. Nor do our questions negate his promises. Advent is all about the promise of something greater coming. But the future promise doesn’t detract from the present pain, and I don’t think God necessarily expects it to. He grieves with us, he hears our cries, he empathizes with our longing. He doesn’t chastise Habakkuk for having those feelings but rather reassures him of something better to come. 

So this year, when waiting feels especially tough, I’ll be sharing a few Advent promises that have helped me in seasons past. A few reminders from the book of Habakkuk that while we don’t know “how long,” we do know this – it won’t be forever. 

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