The Dip: Getting Out

Mar 10, 2018 by: Sam Hestorff| Series: The Dip
Scripture: Habakkuk 3:1–3:18

We've all faced a crisis of belief.  You read the Bible and it didn’t quite speak to you. You prayed, and instead of God doing what you asked, the opposite happens. Church doesn’t seem nearly as relevant as it used to.

You thought God was close, God was good, and God was just, but that doesn’t seem to be the case because what you see with your eyes and experience in your life is very different from what you believe in your heart and so, you started questioning your faith.

That’s called the dip, and everyone goes through it but how you choose to respond to the dip is incredibly important because your response will shape your faith.

What we’ve been doing throughout this series is looking at the private journal of a prophet named Habakkuk; a guy who knows exactly what it’s like to have some tough questions for God.   

And although it was written by Habakkuk as a private journal to help him process what he was experiencing, God placed this book in scripture because the act of questioning God is something we can all relate to, and it’s ultimately something that can lead us a place of intimacy, trust, and security in God that you never, ever dreamed possible.

Today, we’re going to be talking what how to get out of the dip, how do you get out of that place where you feel hopeless and completely broken?

Before we jump in, let’s recap what’s going on in Habakkuk . . . 

Habakkuk was a prophet who lived in the 7th Century BC and his people were in a heap of trouble.  The nation of Israel was falling apart, and it seems that God is just sitting on the sidelines watching it happen. 

And this is so frustrating for Habakkuk and so he goes to God and says . . .  Are you seriously just gonna sit there and keep silent? 

And his questions were based on a premise: that God is good and that he can’t tolerate evil.  He’s asking God why you aren’t acting in a way that is consistent with who I believe you to be.  

Finally, God breaks his silence and he says, “Ok, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.  I’m going to get rid of your king by rousing up the Babylonians and they’re going to come in and conquer your country, drag your people off into exile and destroy your temple.”

Well, this wasn’t the response Habakkuk was looking for, so he says to God, “That’s a really bad plan.  Those guys are bad dudes, way worse than our king.” 

And so, God comes back and says, “Yeah, I know how bad they are, but I need you to know that I can see a way bigger picture of things than you can.  And I know this doesn’t make any sense to you, but you have to trust that I’m going to set things right because I am good, and I am just.”

That was chapter 1

In Chapter two, we see Habakkuk’s response.  He says, I will climb up to my watchtower . . . a high place where I can see for miles and miles . . . and stand at my guard post.  There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.

Habakkuk didn’t understand what God was doing so he stopped what he was doing . . . he paused . . . and he changed his surroundings because sometimes, when we change our surroundings, we get a different perspective.  Find a new view point.

Habakkuk didn’t understand God’s perspective and so he changed his and then he waits for an answer that he knows can only come from God.

And then God speaks . . . he says to Habakkuk, “Alright, you want to know what’s going on?  You want to know where I am in the dip? . . . then grab some paper and take notes because I don’t want you to forget what I’m about to tell you.

This vision, this plan, is for a future time . . .  and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.

God says, “Wait”.  Sometimes, you just have to wait and as the great theologian, Tom Petty, wrote . . . “the waiting is the hardest part” because when you think of waiting, you think of no movement and we want movement. 

So, what do we do while we wait?  Last week we suggested that you do what waiters do . . . you serve.  You find an area in your life where God is moving, and you get involved, you show up, you get plugged in, and you serve. In fact, there may be more movement when you are waiting than ever before when you are serving.

This is where we left Habakkuk last week . . . just waiting.

But as we enter chapter 3, something has changed.  Let’s listen to our text: Habakkuk 3

Up to this point, Habakkuk has asked a lot of questions and has vented his anger and frustration but today, he is singing.  And his song is not a dirge or a sad song of lament like something has died. 

Instead, the text tells us that it’s a song set to wild and enthusiastic music.  The drummer is drumming, the guitarist is whaling, the music is rocking, and the sound is cranked.

I love this!  Chapter 3 is a wild, passionate, and enthusiastic song

Let me tell you the origin of the word enthusiasm. It is a compound Greek word: en and Theos—God in. To be enthusiastic about something means that you see God working in something.  Habakkuk is singing an enthusiastic song because he sees God working in this situation.

But here’s the question—What’s changed? His circumstances? No.  God is still using the Babylonians to come and wipe out the Israelites.

Did he get all his questions answered? Nope, he is still left with questions of “Why?”

So, if his circumstances haven’t changed and his questions haven’t been answered, and he’s still firmly entrenched in the dip . . . then what has changed?

Habakkuk has changed.  His perspective has changed . . . and instead of focusing on his problems, he has chosen to focus on an unchanging, immovable, almighty, all powerful God. 

You see, when you focus on God and his greatness, even though your circumstances stink, you can know that God is in control and those circumstances don’t look insurmountable.

Let me give you an example. There was a little shepherd boy name David. He was the runt of the family. The only thing he was good for was watching the sheep. And we all know, that’s not a job you work towards, that’s a job you get stuck with and it was a lonely job.  It was just you and the sheep, out in the middle of nowhere.

So, while he was tending the sheep, David would pray, sing songs to God, and just hang out with God. He spent countless hours gazing and focusing on the bigness and greatness of God.

That is until one day, he heard of a 9-foot giant named Goliath who was making fun of God and God’s people.  Everyone else was afraid of Goliath; they didn’t know what to do, they didn’t want to get involved, and they certainly weren’t wanting to be a part of the solution because this was a really-scary and overwhelming situation, but not David.

David had spent so much time focusing on the bigness of God that Goliath didn’t seem so enormous.

So, he did what no one else was willing to do . . . he confronted the giant and took him out.

You see, when you focus on the bigness of God, those giant problems start looking really-small. And the way you focus on God is by worshipping Him.

This is what Habakkuk is doing . . . he has this new perspective of a God that is so much bigger than his problems, so he starts to sing a wild, passionate, enthusiastic, worship song of remembrance of who God is and what he has done.

He says, “God, I remember when You delivered us out of Egypt and You guided Your people by fire and by a cloud, and I remember when You fed us with bread from Heaven. And I remember when the waters parted, and we walked through, and I remember when You shook the earth and the walls came tumbling down, and I remember when You used torrential rains to defeat the enemy.  God, I remember what You’re capable of . . . In my worship I am reminded of who you are and what you’ve done, and I believe that you can do it again”

When you’re in the dip, and it just seems like there’s no way out . . . sometimes you just have to fall on your knees and worship and remember who God is and what he has done. 

I love how Habakkuk ends his wild, passionate, enthusiastic song . . .

Though the fig tree does not blossom.  And there is no fruit on the vines; though the yield of the olive fails, and the fields produce no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will choose to rejoice in the Lord; I will choose to shout in exultation in the victorious God of my salvation!

Habakkuk’s circumstances hadn’t changed, his questions didn’t get answered the way he had hoped.  He didn’t understand it and he didn’t like it, but he got a new perspective and he choose to focus on a God who was way bigger than his problems and as a result, his worrying was transformed into worship and in his worship, he was no longer stuck in the dip.

Let’s watch this video together

On the night Jesus was betrayed, he gathered the disciples together for one last meal and he . . .

Took the bread and broke it and said this is my body broken for you.

Took the cup and poured it and said this is my blood which is shed for you. 

And then he said, I want you to remember.  I want you to remember the goodness and the greatness of God.  And every time you gathered together to worship, remember because when you remember who God is and what he has done, those insurmountable problems . . . those dips . . .  well, they won’t seem so big.

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