That's the Book: Habakkuk
I think we need to talk about how to handle bad news. I've sat in a few hospital rooms lately. Again. Friends and family waiting to hear diagnoses, test results and treatment plans. I've talked to people waiting on court decisions, job layoffs, financial crisis and marital tensions. Laws change. People leave. Goodness. You do know in this messed up and dark place we're all going to get bad news at some point? Having a plan for when it comes is critical.
The book of Habakkuk is only three chapters long. In the first chapter, Habakkuk asks God a hard question. WHEN? When are you stopping the horror around us? God answer is to wait. He fully will. God is sending judgment to set right what is wrong.
The second chapter Habakkuk asks another question common to us. WHY? Why are the evil people allowed to overcome God's chosen? God's answer is they won't always. The end game is good.Problem was the time between Habakkuk's question and the promised restoration included a prophecy for great destruction, judgment and heartache. Epic bad news.
Chapter three is a song Habakkuk sings to the Lord. This prophet's response is a gorgeous plan of how to face our hardest days. When I read through this song I saw a good plan of how to handle bad news.
I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled. Habakkuk 3:16
When you get bad news don't be afraid to react. Cry. Yell a Psalm out loud. Call a friend. Pray with all the words- the angry, sad, descriptive, big words. Tell the truth.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us. Habakkuk 3:17a
The waiting. Ugh. Hurts in the tummy. Tightness can't breathe. Waiting. But all the panic, fretting, and worry only makes it worse. The key to getting through bad news is to pause. Patience. My mama says to remember it won't always be this way. Take a walk. Give a hug. Color. Wait patiently.
REJOICE IN THE LORD
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3: 17b -18
Gratitude in everything. It certainly does not take away the sharp pain but thankfulness does make a way forward. It's like breathing through contractions in childbirth. Need a list? Try thanking God for friends, for doctors, for food, for clean water. For grace. Don't let yourself off the task until you can breathe.
KNOW THE SOURCE OF STRENGTH
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19a
Bad news can shake your emotions. It can drastically change your plans. But it can not remove God. Bad news does not delete heaven. It does not change eternity. He is able to carry you through. The path may be steep but God can make your steps steady. The key to bad news? Don't do it alone.
You are going to get more out of the Bible Project's Read Scripture video than whatever new cat video or pop culture dating news was next on your scroll list. Take the time.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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