Keeping It Together When the World Is Falling Apart

(A message shared with the congregation of Taft Street Baptist Church this past weekend, pastored by Albert Gerena, based on the book of Habakkuk…)

2015 has been a really tough year for me…health, family, work, ministry, the world…it has been tough!  Mind you, I’m not saying it has been devoid of blessings, just that it has been really tough.

Maybe someone can relate to that…it has been the toughest yet.  Or maybe it was just really tough.  Or maybe it seems like any other or perhaps it has been an OK or even and easy, carefree year for you.

One thing is for sure – our world is going mad!

I was deeply touched by the reporter killings back in August…I watched the video of the shooting.  The beheading of the Christians…the suicide bombers…the senseless killings in schools, a recruiting office, places of business and a church…biased media, Christian bashing and immoral laws passing.

Leaves me asking “Why?”  Do you ask yourself the same question?

Is there an answer to why all of this evil and suffering?  Could there be a way to overcome our feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, in the midst of all that is going wrong with the world?  Could there be something that God is trying to teach us to do or to be?

While I was thinking about the terrible state of the world a few months back, God reminded me of a passage…someone a long time ago had some of the same questions, during a horrible period in the world during his lifetime…a prophet named Habakkuk…some 2,700 years ago, he had the same questions.

I’ll read it in the New Living Translation, so it sounds like I’m reading my thoughts, maybe your thoughts:

“How long, O Lord, must I call for help?  But you do not listen!  “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save.  Must I forever see these evil deeds?  Why must I watch all this misery?  Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence.  I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.  The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts.  The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.”  Habakkuk 1:2-4

What?  You had the same problems 2,700 years ago?  There is nothing new under the sun, said Solomon…so true.

So, what did God do about it?

“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded.  For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”  Habakkuk 1:5 ESV

Can I tell you a secret?  God is going to do something awesome using the circumstances of our day…

Now, sometimes He lets it get worse before it gets better…I think the whole Bible is clear on that one.  In Habakkuk’s case, God brought the Babylonians and they ransacked Judah and also conquered the world.

Habakkuk then complaints again, questioning God abut His holiness…How can God let this happen?  Would He do anything to stop this madness?

God lets him know that there is more that he needs to learn, some things will happen after He takes care of everything…in the near future and the eternal future.  No one will get away with anything…God will have the last word!

Habakkuk learns his lesson and says this at the end of his book:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord;  I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”  Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV

But let’s backtrack and see what drove Habakkuk to that conclusion…there were some basic things he did that got him there.  How do you keep it all together when the world is falling apart?

1. He took his concerns to God (1:2-4)

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?  Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?  Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?  Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.  So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth.  For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.”  Habakkuk 1:2-4 ESV

We complain that this is going wrong, the government doesn’t do this other, my wife or husband is like this, kids are a mess, my job is the pits…the list is long…do we take it to God?

Habakkuk was tired of seeing so much evil and suffering…so am I…you might be there too…but instead of complaining about it to each other, let’s take it to God and talk to Him about the issues.

2. He looked for answers from God (1:12-17)

“Are you not from everlasting,  O Lord my God, my Holy One?  We shall not die.  O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.  You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?  You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler.  He brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net; he gathers them in his dragnet; so he rejoices and is glad.  Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich.  Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever?”  Habakkuk 1:12-17 ESV

Whatever You are doing, God, I think its weird and it goes against who You really are…and he continued to ask God – Why?

Ask God, seek His answers:

When you can’t understand His plan…

When you don’t see a reason for it…

When it doesn’t make any sense…

When you think He has made a mistake…

When it seems like He has fallen asleep…

Ask God!  Seek answers!

3. He actively waited (2:1)

“I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.”  Habakkuk 2:1 ESV

I will watch at my post…I’ll be the sentinel…I will stand firm…I will be vigilant…I will wait for an answer…I will respond to that answer.

Actively waiting…

I’ll do what I can do and God will take care of doing what I cannot do…

I’ll do the possible, God will do the impossible…

I’ll do the natural, God will do the supernatural…

Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11 – resurrecting Lazarus was up to God…but Jesus asked others to move the stone and to take off his bandages afterwards.

We do what we can do and God does what we cannot do!

“Be still, and know that I am God…”  Psalm 46:10 ESV

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…”  Psalm 37:7 ESV

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  Exodus 14:14 ESV

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV

4. He recognized God’s sovereignty (3:17-19)

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”  Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV

Habakkuk learned the lesson…Which was that main lesson?  God is sovereign!  Noticed his use of God, the Lord in verse 19.

He had gone through the same list that you and I probably go through:

Why?  It’s Ok to ask…

What for?  Is there a lesson here for me?

Why not me?  What makes me so special that I would not go through trials and hardships?

Who is with me?   In everything that I go through, He is with me!

There is no panic in heaven, only plans…there is no desperation there, only a perfect design.

5. He reacted with joy (3:18)

“…yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”  Habakkuk 3:18 ESV

The fitting reaction…I will rejoice and have joy in Jehovah…not in the circumstances but in the Sovereign Lord of the Universe, the Lord of Hosts, the God Almighty.

He understood what God told us through Nehemiah – “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…

Let us…

Take our concerns to God

Look for answers from God

Actively wait

Recognize God’s sovereignty

React with joy

Remember…God is up to something great!

“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded.  For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”  Habakkuk 1:5 ESV

Maybe He wants to do that great work in and through us!

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Managing Chaplain (Florida) and Senior Certified Chaplain, Corporate Chaplains of America

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One comment on “Keeping It Together When the World Is Falling Apart
  1. Amy Vazquez says:

    So appropriate and needed. Thank you for the insight, brother, God revealed, no doubt!
    Deer feet on high places…

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