[taken from my current work: Isaiah and the Six Woes: A Cautionary Tale of Pity.]
“He now goes along as He went along in the olden times.”1 Habakkuk learned. The NIV reads, “He marches on forever.”2 And this is what has been apparent to anyone who has learned God in prayer. God does what God did. So, it is evident to all true believers in Christ that God must inevitably deal decisively with a world of evil. Before we decided to wait on God’s response to a nation culturally corrupt, we lived with a self-imposed anxiety. But prayer changes things, changes us and changes our understanding of things. History is not a repetition of unlearned cruelty of man to man. History is now a part of prophecy. History is not man with man, alone, but man with God. History since Calvary is the world’s response to the Cross.
It is a shame that life gets so complicated if we attempt at explanations or if we wish to make the right choices on our own. Prayer simplifies things because we leave the design of our universe to God. He planted the Garden of Eden; all we have to do is enjoy the flowers, if we learn how through those endless conversations we should be having with Him. Habakkuk’s world, the terrible things that were happening in Judah, like Isaiah’ Israel, was collapsing in on itself because as John Yoder,3 in a study of Christian ethics, correctly observed, “people … use violence in the name of fostering justice.” But, he astutely understood, “[they] are not as strong as they think.” True, but this is unimportant—something we learn about “on our knees.” This is probably another reason why we leave the prayer chamber more at peace than when we entered it. John Yoder continued pointing out the truth worth learning, “One does not come to that belief by reducing social process to mechanical and statistical models, nor by winning some of one’s battles for the control of one’s corner of the fallen world. One comes to it by sharing the life of those who sing about the resurrection of the slain Lamb.”4
Before Calvary, Habakkuk, and Isaiah, had to grasp this truth by prophetic inspiration and trust God, then, that the Savior would someday show up in their world—as we now know He has to die on a Roman cross. And now we wait again for Him to show up in ours at His second coming. Everything still is comprehended by faith in prayer. Nothing has changed for us.
And nothing has changed for God, He is still marching on!
2 Habakkuk 3:6
3 Ward Graham Ed.The Blackwell Companion to Postmodern Theology. The Christian Difference, or Surviving Postmodernism. Introduction: Where We Stand. (2005).
4 John Howard Yoder, “Armaments and Eschatology,” Studies in Christian Ethics, 1, 1 (1998), pp. 43–61.