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Wait and see

When I was a child, one of the things that really annoyed me was if my parents answered a question with 'wait and see.'  If I asked a question I usually wanted to know the answer now!  'Wait and see' required patience and trust - not always easy.

On Sunday evening service No 3 is for the Penties in Dibley.  This time they've chosen the text as part of a series they're doing on Habakkuk. Rather than simply cribbing the sermon I wrote for my own congregation last year - which was tempting, I read it over and it was one of my better ones - I decided to be good and start afresh.  As I revisited the text (Hab 1:12 - 2:1) and the commentaries, I was struck by the final verse of the passage which was Habakkuk deciding to 'wait and see.'  The answer might not come immediately, but Habakkuk would make a conscious effort to wait and look out to see what it might be.

I think this is all the more remarkable because he is dealing with tough stuff - the perennial problems of a good God and the reality of evil, the truth that bad things happen to good people, that innocent bystanders get caught up in war.  There are really big questions about how God metes justice on structural or corporate sin, about whether war, occupation or exile are God's punishment, about what it means to be part of a fallen/disordered world but the answers just don't come - or at least not ina neat knock-down proof text kind of a way.  Like Habakkuk, we have to wait and see, not in an idle, fatalistic way - the call to righteous living precludes that, but accepting that, as the Corinthians were told 'we see only in part.'

I'm not good at 'waiting and seeing,' I am happier when things are in my control, when I can sort problems out, deal with issues, find answers, dot the i's and cross the t's (with or without apostrophes, I'm not sure which is right in this context!).  But 'wait and see' seems to be the theme of the moment, the 'word' to share on Sunday, the only answer I'm going to get when, like Habakkuk, I ask God hard questions.

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