Summary: Part of Experiencing God series: God may not seem to be at work, but He is, according to His own purposes, and using instruments we may not see. Our task is to trust Him and get out of His way!
You’re driving along the road, and you come upon a roadblock. Somebody is holding up a sign which says, "Slow, men at work." What do you see? What do you do?
Well, first, I speed up instead of slowing down. Why? Because I have important things to do, I have mv work to do, and I don’t want to slow down. Don’t you be telling me to go slow! I’m the original energizer rabbit! And I am busy, my work is important! I speed up!
And then the second thing I do is take a look at how many people are really working, and how many are just standing around! When I pass a roadwork site, I do a quick and dirty census. Twenty workers out here. Two are supervising, and we know that’s not work. Six are leaning an their shovels, three are talking on cell phones, four are getting a drink of water, one is in the portapotty and two others are in line, one is driving the big machine -- which looks more like play than work to me -- which leaves one guy, one lonely guy, to wield the shovel and move the dirt around. Twenty workers and only one sweaty soul is doing the work! Wow! What a rip-off!
But, oh well, it’s only tax money. Doesn’t matter, right? Right?!
Wrong! Wrong, because I feel cheated if only one man out of twenty appears to be working. Wrong, because I feel it’s unfair, inefficient, and wasteful. And most of all, I have to work, so why don’t they? Nobody does my work for me. Nobody allows me to hang out while others work. I don’t like laziness at my expense. Let me speed up and get to work and show them how it’s done!
Except that of course I may not have seen everything. I may not have understood what I thought I saw. I may not know that the shovel leaners are poising themselves to leap into action at just the right moment, when the earth-moving machine finishes its work. I may not have understood that the ones talking on the phones are coordinating things with expert knowledge. I may not have seen that the ones getting water were only a few minutes ago teaming together to lift a giant slab of rock. I certainly don’t understand the skill it takes to run that giant machine, and I don’t have a clue what it means to supervise such a complicated operation.
In other words, my smug snarling about their laziness is off base. What my eyes think they see is only part of the truth. The real issue is that I don’t need to be worrying about somebody else being lazy. I just need to get out of the way, and let them do their work as it was designed. I just need to trust them, that they know what they are doing, and I need to be on and about what I am supposed to do.
Sometimes it looks like God is lazy. Super giant lazy. Because, for crying out loud, cannot God see that there is a lot to be done down here? Cannot God grasp that this world needs His involvement, needs it now, needs it quickly? Somehow God must be lazy. God needs to get to work! Like I do!
Habakkuk the prophet thought that way. He raised a complaint. After all, things were getting desperate. The Babylonians had chipped away at the little kingdom of Judah until there was hardly anything left. King Jehoiakim had survived only by paying tribute, year after year after miserable year. Now, Lord, you know that’s not right! This is your nation! This king is the rightful descendant of David. This Temple in this holy city of Jerusalem you have promised to protect. So get busy, Lord! Get to work, God! Lord, how come you are so lazy!
The way Habakkuk said it was:
O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you "Violence!" and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails.
In other words, God, how come you are doing nothing in the face of all of this? How is it that you let me, your prophet, stand out here in the hot sun and yell my head off, and you do nothing useful?
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like crying out to God, "Just do something, anything, to correct whatever is going on out here?"
Shots rang out just the other night within sight of this church. Somebody was arrested for that. However, when it came time for a preliminary hearing, the arresting officer didn’t show up, and the case was dismissed. God, why didn’t you do something? Lazy!