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Rachel Chan—Sunderland, UK

Around the beginning of 2015, I started to become anxious. I was in my final year of university, and I was worried about my university work, my career, and my future prospects. I felt a loss of direction, and I lacked self-confidence. At the same time, all my project ideas seemed to lead to a dead end. I was reading a design course, where the course options I took would determine the direction of the work I produced —yet there was no syllabus or set course modules to guide me. I knew that, being in my final year, I had to progress quickly, and the absence of course structure, coupled with the passing of time, added to my anxieties.


One night, I felt extremely restless and dejected as I pondered over my troubles. I couldn't sleep. All my life, God had led me out of every difficult situation I had ever faced. But yet, I still had so much doubt and fear in my heart. This made me feel so ashamed. I decided to pray. A little while later, a hymn came to mind—it is called “Lord, I believe.” I had learned this hymn as a first year student at the youth theological training course (YTTC), some four years before. I hadn't thought about this hymn for a long while, but the lyrics really reflected how I was feeling at the time. So that night, I sang this hymn as a prayer to God:

            Lord I believe, but help my unbelief;

            I know You provide everything that I need.

            But O Lord, I am weak and my mind wanders far from You,

            O help me Lord, stretch out Your hand,

            Help me from the mire!


            Though the figs don't bud;

            And there's no grapes on the vine.

            Though the olive crop fail;

            And there's no yield on the field.

            No sheep in the pen;

            Nor cattle in the stall,

            I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in my God.


The morning came and I had already forgotten the night before. During this time, the church was preparing for a praise worship event. One of the hymns chosen by the choir was an arrangement of the hymn "Be Thou My Vision." During our night-time fellowships, we had been discussing the meaning of this hymn, and how it is almost impossible to grasp the true depths of the lyrics if we haven't really made God our vision.

So that morning, I decided to look up the word "vision" and search for examples in the Bible. The Oxford Dictionary had two definitions for “vision”:

1)   The faculty or state of being able to see.

2)   The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.

When I referred to the Bible for examples, I found Habakkuk. I had not made a decent effort to study this book before, so I decided to rectify this and read the whole book, which is only three chapters long. I truly thank God, it is a beautiful book, and I felt very blessed after reading it. It records the dialogue between God and the prophet during a period of darkness for the people of God. Prophet Habakkuk had questions—there were many things he didn't understand and he feared for the people. He saw that wickedness was prevailing and he wanted to know why God was not taking action, why He was allowing the wicked to go free. It may seem that Habakkuk lacked faith and was murmuring against God, but at the end of his second speech, he explained:

            I will stand my watch

            And set myself on the rampart,

            And watch to see what He will say to me,

            And what I will answer when I am corrected. (Hab 2:1)

Habakkuk was waiting for God's reply; he believed in God and knew he would be corrected. He boldly brought his fears before God and diligently waited for His word. These actions struck my heart and caused me to reflect.


God then replied to him, saying:

            Write the vision

            And make it plain on tablets,

            That he may run who reads it.

            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.

            Behold the proud,

            His soul is not upright in him;

            But the just shall live by his faith” (Hab 2:2–4)

God gave Habakkuk a vision. This vision was the spoken word of God, which was to be written on tablets: words of warning and authority. God told Habakkuk that the vision was for an appointed time in the future, and instructed him to wait. Even if it seemed to be delayed, this vision would surely come. So whatever fears or doubts Habakkuk felt, or whenever the people questioned God, they could see these tablets—plainly written, solid, and standing alone. This is how God reminded them that He is the Almighty God: judgment is His, and His plan is above all. Even though the dire situation persisted, and evil continued to prevail, Habakkuk could trust in God's vision and live by faith.


Finally, at the end of the book, Habakkuk concludes with a hymn of faith:

            Though the fig tree may not blossom,

            Nor fruit be on the vines;

            Though the labor of the olive may fail,

            And the fields yield no food;

            Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

            And there be no herd in the stalls—

            Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,

            I will joy in the God of my salvation.

            The LORD God is my strength;

            He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

            And He will make me walk on my high hills." (Hab 3:17–19)

The lyrics of the hymn "Lord, I believe" are based on this passage. When I read this Scripture, my mind journeyed back to the night before, and the heaviness I had harbored in my heart. From that moment, the impossibly heavy burden I had carried suddenly became miraculously light. I truly felt the presence of God so close to me. I knew that God had heard my prayer, made in weakness. I wholeheartedly thank God for His guidance, for who could imagine that two hymns and the Book of Habakkuk could link together and resonate within me in the very moment I needed it. The still, small voice of God is, for me, the sweetest thing. This confirms to me that the God whom I worship is the true and living God, and that His word is living and true. 


At times, we may not understand why certain events unfold the way they do, or we may feel anxious that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. When we feel this way, we should bring it before God and diligently seek Him. If we truly seek God and earnestly wait for His reply, God will answer. God has promised the most wonderful things, and only in these do we have hope. Just like in the Book of Habakkuk, the word of God is our vision, plainly written in the Bible, as an anchor for us to hold on to. We must take the word of God and live by it—make it our hope—for the things that God has spoken will surely come to pass.

The meaning of the word “vision” is to see or plan for the future ahead. God, in His wisdom, has already planned the future, therefore we do not need to rely on ourselves—we only need to look to God. If we are willing to receive God and His word as our vision, then we will surely be able to sing a hymn of faith, as Habakkuk did. Whatever situation arises, we will be able to proclaim, "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord."