Have you ever read the book of Habakkuk? It isn’t the most popular of scriptures. Before this summer, I never had. Actually, I could barely pronounce it let alone tell you what it was about. But, spoiler alert, I’m so glad I did.
Here’s a quick synopsis (though I encourage you to sit down this week and read it—it’s only three chapters, after all):
Habakkuk is a prophet with a lot of concerns about the violence and injustice happening around him. He questions the Lord about these events (and why bad things happen if He is good), and He replies with answers … except Habakkuk doesn’t completely understand what He means. Instead of brushing God’s responses aside, Habakkuk decides to wait on the Lord—he has faith that he’ll grasp everything at some point and all will be made clear. In time, the Lord gives Habakkuk a vision, as well as peace to trust in His plan—perhaps the best lesson of all.
If this isn’t an exact replication of our lives, I’m not sure what is. How often do we have anxiety about a situation, question the Lord, and ultimately receive an answer? I would think it happens frequently. We may not receive a vision like Habakkuk did, but we receive peace to know He’s got everything under control. That’s the way our Lord works.
But, let’s be real: this is also often easier said than done. To trust when we’re in the midst of a discouraging diagnosis? To be patient for a new job after we’ve lost ours? To believe everything will be OK when our hearts are broken? Not the simplest of tasks.
Habakkuk was as human as we are. He felt lonely when it didn’t seem like God was near; he was frustrated that he didn’t see how the pieces would fit into the puzzle; he was on edge with the things and behavior of the world.
The Book of Habakkuk starts in a state of despair. As a prophet, he was in a bad spot—and so was everyone else. Habakkuk wonders if God even hears his prayers. And throughout the book we learn that He does. Instead of being angry for the way things were going, Habakkuk learns to walk by faith and not by sight. Instead of saying, “what if?” and assuming the worst will happen, he says, “Even if.”
Even if the most horrible of horrible things happened and his fears came true, he would have the Lord. And so do we.
Habakkuk reminds us that the cliche is true: For the people of God, everything will be OK. He’s promised so many beautiful things to us—we know what is waiting for us if we hold tight to His hand.
The book ends with quite possibly some of the most beautiful verses ever recorded—with that theme of “even if” echoing throughout:
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall 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, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Our Lord is constant. Though trials may come, He is with us. No matter what is ahead of us, He is already there. We do not rejoice because of our situations; we rejoice because of who He is.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.