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Standing at the Watch Tower

Marion Carson, our Pastoral Support Coordinator, reflects on the relevance of the Bible passages our volunteers’ Bible study group has been studying.

Bible studyIn recent weeks the Glasgow City Mission volunteers’ Bible study group has been reading the book of Habakkuk. As we have been finding out, it is full of surprises and riches.

Habakkuk is alarmed, terrified even, at what he sees around him. In his case, it is the threat of a foreign invasion. The Babylonians are on their way – and they are extremely violent and will stop at nothing to expand their empire. Habakkuk can’t understand it – why isn’t God doing something? “How long, oh Lord,” he cries. “How long shall I cry for help? How long shall I cry ‘violence’ and you will not save?” Habakkuk 1:2. Everything is mayhem round about him. He is bewildered and scared.

How long o Lord

As we have read this small but remarkable book together, we have been amazed at how relevant the prophet’s message is for the present day. Of course, we are not facing the invasion of a ruthless, violent foreign power. Our threat is a tiny virus, which we cannot see. And our only defence is to stop the spread as much as we can by following government advice and staying at home. Like Habakkuk, we can’t predict what’s going to happen and, like Habakkuk, we wonder how long this strange, frightening situation will go on for. How long are we going to have to stay in our homes? When will we be able to resume our normal, everyday work?

Watch and pray

It’s so good that we have voices like Habakkuk’s in Scripture. Like the prophet, we don’t know what will happen … but with him we can cry out to God. We can, with him, remember that God is the rock, everlasting and holy (1:12) and ask “how long?”

In the absence of an immediate reply from God, Habakkuk decides to wait and to watch. Now we must do the same. We must watch and pray. During this time in which we cannot be together physically, let’s keep watch together, listening for God. Keep watch and pray in this time of crisis – for our Chief Exec and our management team, for each other and above all for our guests, who are so vulnerable but so precious in God’s sight.


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