• Tom Beaumont

Stop Talking - Start Listening

As leaders, the chances are we are well acquainted with injustice. When things don’t go the way we are certain they should our unrest is almost palpable. If we were to be honest, those times are not so much a matter of not getting our way but of our perception that God is not getting it done. Why doesn’t God provide the resources to get his work accomplished? Why does God allow disruptions to his ministry?

The prophet Habakkuk takes it a step further. He is struggling with God not responding to his pleas for help. He sees God’s people ignoring God’s word and resorting to arguments, evil and even violence. And, hey, it’s his job to be the conveyor of God’s truth and God’s message. So when God appears to just be silent he does what maybe we think about doing but stop short of doing – he calls out God. “Why aren’t you doing something? Why are you letting this happen?” Maybe you and I wouldn’t be so bold but you have to admire a relationship that allows that kind of rhetoric.

In this account, however, God does indeed respond. And when he reveals his plan of action to bring about the much awaited justice – Habakkuk goes ballistic. “Surely, that’s not your plan! You are a holy God (in case God forgot, I guess), how can you use such a despicable means to carry out your purposes?” In a posture of certainty (aka defiance) Habakkuk then declares to the Lord that he will camp out here waiting for him to get it right. (I’m not making this up – read the book)

Maybe a little brash and possibly he crossed a line but didn’t Habakkuk do what we are often prone to do? He stepped into God’s shoes and with all the best intentions in the world established a game plan for God to carry out. And maybe, without thinking, we are just as guilty when we decide to ‘job share’ with our Heavenly Father.

As the story proceeded, God had much to reveal to Habakkuk. He laid out for him a narrative of certain inevitability for the days ahead. But embedded

in the narrative are two things of, what I would call, significant impact, even for today. One was a picture to ponder and the other a clear piece of instruction. The picture was this, “As the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the Lord”. The instruction (and it’s a sobering one) was, “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth be silent before him”.

God was giving Habakkuk not just a peak into the future but a glimpse of Himself. Concerned about who is in control? Know this – there is a throne and God is on it! It might be a good idea to quietly wait. And I love what someone said about ‘wait’. When seen as an acronym, it stands for “Why am I still talking”.

Times of injustice and the inevitable frustration that accompanies them are the perfect times for us to stop talking and start listening.

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