June 5, 2024

In 2024, we will strive to become more like Jesus by rediscovering the ancient practices of prayer, study, sabbath, celebration, and many more. Our knowledge of scripture, coupled with studying how Jesus lived his life while on earth, will help us become people that overflow with the goodness of God. Wednesday email devotionals will highlight the practices that have been discussed on the previous Sunday.

Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.


Habakkuk 1:5


Years ago when I was serving a church in Augusta, I approached one of our elders after a Session meeting and asked him—because he was an ENT—to take out my tonsils.

“You don’t want me to do that,” he said. “A tonsillectomy is major surgery on an adult.”

He went on to explain further, and then said, “Let me treat you.”

About a year later, when I was in his office with tonsillitis for the sixth time in a calendar year, he told me that I had a decision to make. I reminded him that the decision was his—that I had decided a year earlier to have my tonsils out. He laughed; I jumped through the hoops to have the surgery scheduled, and the day came.

I remember him telling me and Lib that I would wake up with a sore throat, and that each day the sore throat would get progressively worse until the fifth day. “When you wake up that day,” he said, “it will start to feel better, and will get better each day.” And he was spot on. It was bad news—“it’s going to get worse before it gets better”—but sometimes that is the news we need to hear.


And that is the news that God had for the prophet Habakkuk. Judah—the southern kingdom—was caught between a rock and a hard place, with Babylon to the north and east, and Egypt to the south and west. Those two nations were engaged in a war. Judah was trying to figure out whose side to take, and they were simply overpowered. The King of Judah, Josiah (the most revered King of all of Israel’s history) was killed, and the nation was overrun by the Babylonians.

“WHY?” the prophet asks, longing to hear from God. “Why is everything so awful?!”

Looking for comfort, the prophet learned that things would get worse before they got better. They would get better—they did get better, but there were lessons that needed to be learned. The people of God had been ignoring God’s call on their lives, living as if they could do whatever they wanted with no consequence, and the Lord allowed the nation to be conquered. It got worse.

The “rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say, is that the people of God learned that God is present wherever they find themselves—even in Babylon in exile. It was a hard lesson to learn, a hard word to hear. But sometimes we only hear things we need to hear when they are spoken truthfully, even if painfully.

By the way; a tonsillectomy really is major surgery on an adult. Kids bounce back quickly, but I was out of work for two weeks.

For Reflection

When was a time that someone said something to you that was hard to hear, that you did not want to hear, but you needed to hear?


Has there been a time in your life when God’s Word was difficult to hear, but once you listened to it and responded, your life improved?


Merciful and Loving God, whose loving kindness is without end, we confess that we like easy things and comforting messages. Yet we also confess that there are times when we need your correction. Help us to listen to you today and every day, even when you need to straighten us out.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Dr. Chuck Roberts
Senior Associate Pastor