Habakkuk 2:3 gives a beautiful promise about those things God revealed to His prophets. He told Habakkuk that even if the thing revealed does not happen quickly, rest assured that it will happen eventually. The Lord said, “The vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come.”
The vision God had given Habakkuk was not all sunshine and light. The prophet was horrified by a vision of the dreaded Babylonians striking Israel, even though he acknowledged that it’s what they deserved. God also gave Habakkuk a vision of Babylon’s destruction and of a glorious future for Israel. The first two events came true within a few decades. The last promise awaits complete fulfillment, but it also “hastens toward the goal.”
The point is, Habakkuk’s vision contained both promise and warning. God always keeps His word. For some, that means dread. Terrible things are coming on this world. Even now, we see the beginning of them. But He assures us of ultimate victory. Hebrews 10:37 applies the verse from Habakkuk to the return of Christ. “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come.”
God tells His children that we have not been appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). He will rescue us from the coming tribulation. In the meantime, suffering should not surprise us. In Matthew 10:22, Jesus said, “You will be hated by all on account of My name.” That’s no fun. But in Revelation 2:10, Jesus said something to the church at Smyrna which should give us great comfort today. “Do not fear what you are about to suffer.”
We should not be surprised by suffering, but neither should we dread it.
Here in the early part of the 21st century, most of the world looks to the future with a kind of helpless anxiety. Many things are going wrong. Disaster looms from a myriad of directions. Planet earth seems to have passed a tipping point. A cascade of tragedies threatens every person on earth.
Texas recently experienced the kind of problems we can expect in a deteriorating world. Most Texans suffered a lack of electric power, and then they suffered a lack of water. A high percentage of Texas uses electricity for heat. That meant experiencing frigid temperatures without furnaces. Ironically, power shortages caused by cold weather meant that vast amounts of frozen food thawed in grocery store freezers. Icy roads prevented trucks from resupplying those stores. These circumstances combined to force stores to throw away food in the middle of a food shortage.
The world sees its future in this. When we talk about deteriorating infrastructure, we’re talking about deteriorating lifelines of electricity, water, food, and other materials. We are becoming more and more dependent on these lifelines even as they become less reliable. Our government chooses to cut off fuel supplies. We are moving from dependable sources of energy to undependable ones. Water is becoming more scarce and its transfer less reliable. People wonder when the next shoe will drop. According to the Bible, it won’t just be a single shoe dropping, but a storm of them.
Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t speak of these calamities as a terrible end, but as a glorious beginning. The coming of Jesus is on the horizon. He will rapture His Church before the seven years of tribulation. At the end of those seven years, He will come back to earth to rule in perfect righteousness. The bad things will not last. But He shall reign forever and ever!
Though He tarries, wait for Him for He will surely come! In the meantime, even in hard times, He never leaves us. He does not forsake those who put their trust in Him.