I read an online obituary for a friend’s father. My heart ached for my friend as I imagined how painful it would be to lose a parent. I sent him an email of condolence and was surprised by his quick response. “It’s been a tough year, but I’m rejoicing in our hope in Christ.” Even as he mourned, he spoke of hope and faith.
Similarly, the words of Habakkuk 3:2 surprise me. The prophet sang that “in this time of our deep need,” he was “filled with awe by [God’s] amazing works.”
The time of deep need Habakkuk referred to was the tumultuous period before the exile of God’s people. The ruthless Babylonian empire was growing in power. Meanwhile, Judah was turning away from God (Habakkuk 1:2-4). Habakkuk lamented the disobedience of the people and called out to the Lord.
He must have been startled to learn that the Babylonians would be God’s chosen instrument for disciplining His people (Habakkuk 1:6-11). Yet, in a culture of sin, with war on the horizon, Habakkuk marveled at God and said, “Help us again . . . remember your mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). What an amazing response.
Sometimes I’m tempted to question God’s sovereign rule when bad things happen. When all I can see is the proliferation of sin and injustice, I grow tired and complain like Habakkuk did. But his small book also shows me how to respond after the complaints are over. The prophet famously said, “The righteous will live by their faithfulness to God” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11).
My friend’s email reflects this response of enduring loss with hope. Habakkuk said, “[God’s] coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. . . . When he looks, the nations tremble. . . . He is the Eternal One!” (Habakkuk 3:4,6). May we find the hope and strength we need in God today.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Mark 10:35-52
Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and think about what it means to trust God when you’re in deep need.
What happens when you choose to rejoice in God even when you’re in deep need? Meditate on some of God’s attributes and consider why they fill you with hope and trust.