Habakkuk 1: God’s Answers to Life’s Questions

Deepa David   |   October 25, 2022 

*We are journeying through the book of Habakkuk in a series of posts this month. This is the first post of three.*

When our kids were little, maybe two or three years old, their favourite word was "why?" But this is not true just for kids. From innocent childhood queries to complex world problems, life is filled with questions. Our questions can range from:

“What can I make for breakfast today?” 

“Can I have some gadget time?” 

“Why do I have to go to school tomorrow?”

“Why did God create us?”

“How can we end world hunger?” 

“Why do people suffer?”

Not all our questions have immediate or perfect answers. During the pandemic, I constantly struggled with questions too.

“God, do you see this pandemic?” “When will this end?”

I could not bear to see the news. I was afraid to touch my phone. I was overwhelmed by the catastrophe the pandemic was causing.  At that time, I was reading through the book of Habakkuk. The prophet seemed to be going through troubled times as well. He was overwhelmed by the violence and corruption around him.

Habakkuk lived in Judah during the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36-24:5). He prophesied during the fall of Nineveh (612 BC) and the Babylonian invasion (588 BC). Egypt, which was a world power at that time, was almost crushed overnight and the Babylonian empire took its place. This book records the prophet’s dialogue with God. Habakkuk's heart’s cry seems to be, ”Why does God often seem indifferent in the face of evil?”

Habakkuk 1:1-4 "The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralysed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted."

When Habakkuk questioned God he felt like he was not getting answers. It felt like he was abandoned and ignored.  He was crying for justice in a wicked, unjust, perverted, immoral and violent context in Judah. Yet he did not seem to get the answers he was looking for. 

When we went through the pandemic, and India got hit wave after wave, I struggled with questions in my mind. I went through seasons of doubt, worry and fear. I would cry out to God, ”Why? What is happening in my country? Where are you, God? Are you seeing this?”

The religious paradigm in which I grew up, made me feel guilty about questioning God. To me, my external behaviour, and how I looked in front of others was more important than being honest with my doubts and fears. I was a pastor’s wife, I needed to have it all together. I needed to be the one comforting and offering support. I couldn’t be unravelling and losing it in the middle of a pandemic. So I either pushed my questions deep down where I didn’t want to wrestle with them or I gave superficial answers to tough questions.  My secular friends on the other hand questioned but also rejected God because they didn’t like or couldn’t make sense of His answers.  

During the pandemic, I also heard a sermon on Habakkuk chapter 1 which talked about godly ways to deal with difficult questions. Firstly, I realised from the sermon that God encourages us to come to him with our questions. He already knew my heart so I didn’t have to pretend before him. Secondly, when I come to God, I trust His good and holy character. We can question God’s ways and methods because we don’t understand. But no one can question His character. God is holy, righteous, without blame and good. And lastly, we need to be humble to admit we don’t know everything and that God’s ways are higher and wiser than our ways.

Instead of turning cynical and bitter, God calls us to wrestle faithfully. This kind of faith comes because of a personal relationship with Christ, and an understanding of the gospel to move toward God in the midst of our struggles, instead of moving away, because we know God as our loving Father. 

We are often quick to assume that when we suffer, either God has abandoned us or God is mad at us. Such a posture is not based on biblical reality but rooted in our sinful tendencies. 

We see God responds to Habakkuk’s question in this chapter. 

"Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." Habakkuk 1:5

God encourages Habakkuk not to assume based on his circumstances, that God is silent or that He has abandoned Israel. On the contrary, God invites him to come look and be amazed. 

As I began to mull on this, my heart was led to worship. Yes, I was deeply convicted about how I question God and how easily I fall prey to unbelief. This moved me to worship the God who is sovereign at all times, and who is not silent or inactive at any point in history. God is accomplishing His redemptive plan through both good and evil in this world. God does not simply exist to bless me, heal me, help me and do what I want in life to make me comfortable and happy. He is the sovereign king of this universe and we exist for His pleasure and glory. God allows, sends, ordains, governs and even ends suffering. Suffering does not threaten or thwart the purposes of God. He always turns it for our good and His glory. 

Will you consider the message of Habakkuk for your own heart and life? Will you bring your questions, doubts and frustrations before God knowing that he is faithful, sovereign and good? Will you ask God to open your eyes to see what he is accomplishing not only in your life but all over the world? 

 

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

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Deepa David

Deepa David skillfully juggles her various roles as a wife and mother of three kids. Her biggest role is to support her husband in ministry, bringing stability into a demanding ministry environment. She has a heart for underprivileged women and has served with commercial sex workers and women in situations of exploitation and abuse. She is also theologically trained with an MA in Christianity from SAIACS. She is joyful all the time and never tires of hosting people in her home.

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