When I first saw the title of John’s post, “Worship God with My Anger,” the word that popped into my head was ‘provocative.’ And as I read it, provocative proved correct, for I was provoked. This post provoked wonder and doubt and curiosity. But mostly it provoked a question: “Dear God, what does that even look like?!” And yesterday God answered by showing me what it looks like to worship God with anger.
I met with Martha and Carole to pray over some pretty big situations that had developed. Martha was weeping as she told us how angry she was at God over these situations. She said she’d spent the morning grappling with that anger, confessing it to God, telling all the why’s and wherefore’s of that anger with Him. She was wracked with discouragement and felt like she couldn’t get clear to His presence. So we prayed.
Habakkuk on the Ramparts
Quite perfectly, the Spirit took us to Habakkuk. And in Habakkuk was a word that brought peace to Martha’s heart and a balm to her spirit. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV). The big situations were still big and still looming, but I watched God settle Martha’s heart. That’s when I realized that the Lord had showed me a real, live example of what it means to take the not-so-pretty parts of our hearts and yield them over to Him, as “a living sacrifice.”
Like Habakkuk, Martha poured out her angry heart and her doubts and discouragement. And she poured in full until it was all out of the heart and into His Light. Hours were spent yielding over her heart completely. She then thanked God and waited for His correction, for His word to her—she waited for Him. And based on what I witnessed, God found Martha’s sacrifice of worship to be utterly acceptable and pleasing to Him. But she was discouraged with her discouragement.
I told Martha that it was her worship to give God the anger, just as in John’s post! And it redeemed her whole dreadful morning. That’s pretty huge actually. I’ve judged myself very harshly for many a morning like the one Martha had. Even after the Spirit settled me, answered me, and loved me, I still felt terrible and terribly ashamed that the ‘outburst’ had to happen at all. I rarely if ever connected it with the story of Habakkuk, and I certainly never saw it as an act of worship. I just saw it as a necessary honesty that was nonetheless regrettable in every way.
I can see now that there is no short-cut here. “Turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart” is not a shallow dealing with God. It’s a wrenching, pouring out before the Lord that leaves us totally exposed and vulnerable to the truth of what we really think and feel. Like Habakkuk, we may know we’re in the wrong about life and people and Him, but we have to get it all out in truth or we’ve yielded nothing but fantasy and sentiment. Martha poured out the truth, and the Lord took the angry, discouraged parts of her heart and filled them with His own surety and faith.
The Gift of Habakkuk
It was a great privilege to bear witness to the oh-so-transparent move of the Spirit in Martha’s life, and I’m still taking it all in. I watched Martha take her whole mess straight to the Source. Though the enemy might play a role, he still answers to God Almighty in every respect. How amazing to see the fruit of acknowledging God’s absolute sovereignty under less conventional circumstances! “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks…” Two big conditions that bear abundant fruit when met.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit 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 triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Habakkuk 3:17-18 HCSB
These weren’t empty words that Habakkuk uttered. These are the words of a man who has worshiped God with ALL of his heart, honoring God as GOD by taking every last care and woe right to the top. Carole found this in her Spirit-filled Bible: “Although everything is wrong in Habakkuk’s external world, he is leaping for joy over his fellowship with Yahweh.” There’s a special joy, an exultation available to the Habakkuks. I know because I’ve witnessed it in living color.