What do we do when we do not understand what God is trying to do in our lives? Have you ever asked God “why”? If we are honest with ourselves, we have all dones so. In our finite minds and understanding, we can only see what is going on around us or what has already happened. Our infinite God knows what has happened, is happening, and will happen. He has a plan for us. Habakkuk found himself in a similar situation of questioning and struggle. He asked God how long until He would judge Judah for their wickedness (Hab. 1:1-4). God responded by telling him that He was fully aware of their sin and that He would use the Babylonians to punish them (Hab. 1:5-11). This answer troubled Habakkuk, and he asked how God could use a wicked nation to judge His people (1:12-2:1). God answered him and told him that He would also hold them responsible for their wickedness (Hab. 2:2-20). In chapter three, Habakkuk offers a prayer to the Lord. We can know what to do when we do not understand by looking at how Habakkuk coped with surprising news and challenging answers.
First, he rested in the Lord (Hab. 3:16). He was troubled by what was going to happen, and he even felt rottenness and decay in his bones. He knew that in the midst of difficult times and in receiving challenging news that he could rest. This resting can only happen in the Lord. We cannot have the peace that we need in trying times without the Lord’s help. Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” We can rest in our all-knowing God. He knows what is best for us!
Second, he rejoiced in the Lord (Hab. 3:17-18). Habakkuk stated in faith that even if everything that seemed certain failed (like the harvest, the livestock, one’s livelihood, etc.), he would still rejoice in the Lord. Even when everything around us that seems stable becomes unstable, we can rejoice in our God! We can joy in the God of our salvation! When we receive troubling news about our health or the health of a loved one, we can rejoice in God. When we lose our job or face financial hardship, we can rejoice in God! Our joy is found in God, not our circumstances. Psalms 46:1-3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” We can rejoice in our ever present God Who never changes!
Third, he relied on the Lord (Hab. 3:19). After everything that he faced, Habakkuk finished his prayer by stating the “The LORD God is my strength.” Even as a mountain goat can scale the steep precipices and cliffs without fear, we can weather the storms of life and the unknown by relying on God and His strength. There will be days that we feel as if we cannot go on, but we can only because God is with us and helps us! Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” We can make it through by relying on the Lord and His never-failing strength and help.
“Whatever God permits to come into our lives is designed to conform us to the image of His Son. When we see this, it takes the question mark out of our prayers. Our lives are not controlled by impersonal forces such as chance, luck, or fate, but by our wonderful, personal Lord, who is “too loving to be unkind and too wise to err.”William MacDonald