When I was a kid, I remember sometimes waiting for a guest to arrive. Maybe it was an extended family member visiting from far away, or a visitor who was expected. Our house provided a good view down the street, where each car would be inspected at a distance from the living room window. When we spotted the car we were looking for, then the anticipation of waiting (if there is such a thing) would give way to the excitement of arrival (maybe my grandmother with one of her famous baked goods).
In the latter part of the first chapter of Habakkuk, the author asks God several questions. That’s not unusual: many people in the Bible, and throughout history, have asked God questions (even Jesus – see Matthew 26:38-41).
But then, the second chapter starts with the following:
I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.
Habakkuk 2:1 NASB
Habakkuk didn’t just ask God a few questions and figure that God would catch up with him when He was ready. He was actively watching to find out what God had to say. Notice that Habakkuk wasn’t waiting to see if God would answer; he had the faith to wait on what God was going to answer.
I think that sometimes we ask God questions, but then we move on. We may seek an answer during our prayer time, but then say “amen” and then proceed to get ready for our day (or, if our quiet time with God is in the evening, go to sleep). We may request an opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus during our day, but get caught up with other obligations and miss our chance.
Maybe this isn’t you, but I think that I fall into this trap. I’m better at talking than at listening sometimes, even when I talk with God. So, what am I missing?
Watch for God’s Word
While God speaks to people in many ways, one of the most common and readily available (in most of the world) avenues of communication from Him is from His Word, the Bible.
When we want to learn more about God’s plan for us, a great place to start is to read the Bible. Just reading the Bible to see what God has to say is ok, but if you’re looking for a specific answer, don’t be afraid to search for a book or chapter that talks about the subject of your question.
In my own life, God has sometimes delivered the passage I needed in the devotional that I’m reading, in a “verse of the day”, or in a chapter that I seem to just “happen” upon. Even though God can lead us to just the right verse, though, it’s ok to look for key words or topics in the Bible (or ask a trusted, mature friend for suggestions), and read them in context. (See Proverbs 4:20-27.)
Watch for God’s Work
Personally, part of my prayer list is to ask for opportunities – whether for myself or others – to do good things for the Kingdom of God. However, to take advantage of the opportunities, it’s good if I’m alert and looking for those chances – those moments when I can share good news and loving actions with others. God can certainly get my attention, when necessary, but if I believe that God is actually going to answer my prayers, why wouldn’t I be looking out for those answers every day?
And, when God does work – whether through opportunities, healing, blessing, or otherwise – let’s not forget to give God the glory (that is, to give Him the credit and let others know about it) when He answers our prayers. When we receive good news, it is easy to get caught up in the moment and celebrate. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s even better to think back and see whether God just answered your prayer, or if He intervened where you didn’t even think to ask.
Be like the one person (out of ten) who came back to thank Jesus for healing, as recorded in Luke 17:11-19. And keep your eyes open!