Be Content With What You Cannot Control

April 22, 2020


Strength in the Desert, Part 12

As we consider what it means to wait on the Lord and to go through suffering without knowing the reason or the solution, you may begin to conclude that the Lord might not be resolving this issue in this lifetime. This would put you in good company, as Hebrews 11 is filled with faithful people who were all waiting for things beyond their own lifespan. Perhaps the key aspect of waiting that is so difficult is that waiting means that God is in control and you are not. The book of Habakkuk teaches us how to think properly about three important issues regarding waiting on the Lord.

Perhaps the key aspect of waiting that is so difficult is that waiting means that God is in control and you are not.

1. Theology

Habakkuk gives us a right understanding of the massive scope of the sovereignty of God. He will do what he will, when he will, how he will, with whom he will, and why he will. Babylon was coming for Judah and they were unstoppable. This was God’s plan, not Habakkuk’s, and so he did the only thing he could, worship.

2. Worship

Habakkuk reminds us that God rightly engenders fear and terror if you oppose him and that his sovereignty ought to provoke humble adoration and worship, especially when he is doing things you would not wish for. This punishment did not have to make sense to Habakkuk, God was going to carry out his own plans for his people the way he decided.

3. Israel

Habakkuk falls in line with the rest of the minor prophets that consistently teach that God rebukes faithless Israel with punishment, yet he will be faithful to restore her. Thus, we have faith that those whom God has chosen will never fall from grace permanently. For us as believers in Christ, God’s character is completely reliable. He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. (Phil. 1)

Even though the Lord was bringing about dreaded circumstances, Habakkuk took joy in the God of his salvation. As New Testament believers, we have the ultimate big picture understanding of this salvation. If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, the future is bright. God is going to conform you to be just like Jesus. Jesus Himself is preparing a wonderful eternal home for you. You will get a brand-new body. You will live with and enjoy perfect fellowship with ever believer from every age for all eternity. You will enjoy heaven that will be sinless and pain-free. You will have eternity to know and worship and bask in the glory of God as you see him face to face. (1 Jn. 3:2) Your future is beautiful, and that is worth waiting for.

Whatever it is you are waiting for, whether physical health, restored relationship, or even something that won’t be resolved in this lifetime, these situations have components to them. Categorize them into two sections: those things you can do something about, and those you cannot control. Respond biblically and humbly to those things that you can control. Commit to prayer and be content with those things that you cannot control. God wants to use this trial to make you more like him, which is for your benefit. (James 1:2-4)

Steve Swartz, D.Min

Dr. Swartz is the senior teaching pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bakersfield, California and author of Shattered Shepherds and Strength in the River. You can hear him on the Steadfast in the Faith broadcast.

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