2O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? 3Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. 4So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. — Habakkuk 1:2-4
Many of the people in the pages of the Bible were as confused and filled with questions as we are today. One of the great things about God’s Word is that He decided to include a lot of their questions alongside the answers He gave them. Such is the case of Habakkuk, above. Don’t his questions sound familiar?
Like us, Habakkuk wondered if he would get through what he was facing. But in his third chapter, Habakkuk moves from questions to answers, and he models something for us that is incredible. In response to the question, “Will I get through this?”
His survival strategy involved prayer. Chapter 3 begins, “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet…” When you think about difficulties, you’re like, “Prayer? That’s hard!” I know what you mean; sometimes prayer can be very difficult. Fortunately, Habakkuk has a few insights for us.
He began with reverence for God’s Word: “O Lord, I have heard the report of You, and Your work, O Lord, I do fear” (Habakkuk 3:2). Habakkuk is ridding his heart of all anxiety, and stress, and burden. He’s also praying to God as He has revealed Himself: a God who is to be feared. A God who is mighty —who can do anything. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7a).
Habbakuk also is remembering God’s mighty works on behalf of His people. This reverence for “Your work” is followed by reverence for God’s Word. And that’s why he prays, “In the midst of years revive it” (v.2). Verses 3-16 review God’s work in history.
After reverence for God’s Word and God’s work, a time of praise is in order. Habakkuk decided to rejoice in the Lord. In verse 17 he says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines. . . ” God knows what the deepest valley will be for you. But to come to the place where you can say, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (v.18), you are no longer just getting through, you are overcoming!
And then Habakkuk finishes with this, a decision to rely on God’s strength. He says, “God, the Lord, is my strength” (v.19). What a great way to say, yes, I will get through this—God will get me through. — James MacDonald
Prayer: Heavenly Father, when I pause long enough to pay attention, the power of Your Word, and the evidence of Your work, are always infinitely above what I’m facing. But it’s Your faithfulness that I want to stand on when all around me gives way. I know I won’t get through unless You are with me—that’s exactly what You’ve promised to do! Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.