“Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.” (Hag. 1:9)
“Lord, help my wife.” I prayed this many times during a hard season of life. I would pray, only to find my wife struggling just as much or more than when I had prayed. This continued until I grew angry with God for seemingly refusing to answer my prayers. “How can I trust God if he won’t help my wife?” Eventually, the Holy Spirit showed me I wanted her struggling to end more than I wanted God to work in her heart through the struggle. Furthermore, this focus on external hardships kept me from seeing the inward heart change that I needed—to choose to trust God no matter what.
The Israelites were in a similar boat. They were more concerned about their economic hardships and their homes than on the matters of God. They believed these hardships kept them from rebuilding the temple. Perhaps they prayed like I did, “Lord, relieve our hardships.” But Haggai turned that on its head, challenging the people to look inward first. They were facing such hardship because they had neglected the temple. It was a heart problem, not a problem of circumstances. Their circumstances were symptoms of neglecting God, the real sickness.
To prioritize God is to prioritize heart change. It is a willful choice to trust in him regardless of circumstances. Our default when looking for change should be to look inward.
Examine your default perspective, whether you look inward or outward for change.
Noah Cromer serves as a residence director on Southern Wesleyan University’s campus (SC), along with his wife, Kaitlin, and daughter, Elianna.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.