This week we meet Habakkuk. He was a prophet in Jerusalem who ministered in the time leading up to the city’s destruction. He was so distraught about how wickedness and injustice were rampant that he cried out to the Lord in is anger, pain, and confusion. The dialogue between the prophet and the Lord forms the content of the book that bears Habakkuk’s name. Habakkuk is an important book because it deals with an issue all of us struggle with: why does the Lord not do anything about all the evil and injustice in the world? There is a pathway from anger/confusion to confidence and trust but it means learning some lessons about how the Lord calls us to live no matter what’s happening around us. The righteous person, God says, is to live by faith/faithfulness.
As we examine this book, we learn first that faith questions God. There are times when faith struggles with God over the difficulties of life. The Bible is full of examples of people who complained to God through a means of prayer we call lament. Far from distancing us from God, lament actually draws us closer to Him, even if we’re filled with anger and confusion. Second, we learn that faith must accept God’s terms. It’s clear in the book of Habakkuk that God doesn’t always answer the way we want Him to but He does answer with the most important thing of all: that fact that he does see what’s happening, hasn’t forgotten the faithful, and has a plan to restore justice. Lastly, we learn that faith sometimes must look backward in order to look forward. After reflecting on all of God’s faithfulness in in the past, the prophet is renewed in his trust and enabled to live by faith.
The good news for us is that as we look back we see even more than Habakkuk saw, namely the gift fo God’s Son, Jesus, the one in whom all things will be made right.