The theme verse for our ministry comes from a short and little known book in the Old Testament, Habakkuk. It is part of what is considered the ‘minor prophets.’ My first encounter with this verse was as a brand new freshmen at Eastern University. The verse was the theme for our orientation and being relatively new to the faith, I had never heard of this book of the Bible before. The verse struck me deeply in those moments and has been with me since. Well over 22 years later, it remains my personal life verse. It speaks profoundly of the promises of God. It is a verse of joy and hope. It recognizes the world is not as it should be, yet God has a plan and has nothing but good for us. It is a reminder that God wants us to do more than survive but to thrive. It also reminds us that God often answers our prayers in a way and a time that we do not expect or even prefer.
The book of Habakkuk is a dialogue between the prophet and God. Habakkuk is raising a series of complaints about the state of the world. He is angry at injustice. He is frustrated that he does not see God acting. He questions God’s wisdom. He is riddled with doubt. God answers his two complaints offering promises that while full of joy, life and hope are anything but flowery. It is a reminder that God often works in the difficult and painful. The prophet wonders where God is, and God does not remain silent yet offers hope. We serve a God of hope. Our verse is part of this dialogue and the promise of God to this prophet but also to each of us.
Look and watch. God is moving. Look around for it. It is right in front of you. Be prepared to be amazed. God does not just answer our needs; God amazes us. God surprises us. God looks to do things in ways that we would have never hoped or expected. For God is doing something. God is always at work. God is always moving. Will we notice? In your days. God is not just working in the Bible or when Jesus returns. God is working now, in and through you. In the world. That you would not believe. God has, is and will move in ways that we could never believe, that we could never expect, that we could never in our wildest dreams imagine. Even if you were told. God’s plan is so big, beautiful, amazing, unexpected and powerful that even if God were to give you every detail of that plan, you would not even believe it.
As I look back at my own life, this verse has been proven true over and over again. It is embarrassing really to see how much I worry and doubt in light of how much God has kept this promise to me, to my family and to the work I continue to be called to do. As I look at my own life story, all I can say is, ‘I could have never made this up.’ I, and those close to me are often fond of saying, ‘only Marcus.’ That is the story of God. It’s the promise of this verse.
As we began the work to start this ministry, it was clear that the central force of the ministry, its name, the logo, its work was this verse. We recognized that God wants to do an amazing thing in the global Christian church to bring the whole gospel to the whole world. We recognize that there are many churches in the United States that need the hope of this passage, that need to know that God has an amazing plan for them. We wanted to be a vessel in helping them to see this verse come to fruition in their ministry. We recognize that there are so many ministry leaders in areas of great poverty around the globe that love Jesus and want to do the great ministry they have been called to, but lack the resources, education and confidence to do so. We want to give them those tools so that they may live in the hope of this verse. We also know that the church is bigger than one country, denomination or local body and so our desire is to connect the Christian church in the United States with the rest of the world so that they together can be amazed at what God has done, is doing and will do.
In the end, this verse is a verse about trusting God. It reminds us of the promise of God and our call to look and see what God is doing and to join God in that work. To that end, Preparing for Amazement Ministries seeks to see what the Holy Spirit is doing and to partner with the Spirit in that so we may all experience the promise:
“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
Rev. Dr. Marcus J. Carlson, Executive Director