Faith in the Midst of Uncertain Times
A model for prayer in challenging times.The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk wrestled with his faith in the midst of the difficult situation in which he and his people found themselves. Israel had enjoyed a revival and return to God under King Josiah, but the ruler had died in battle and wicked men were ruling the nation and prospering. Habakkuk struggled to understand how a holy God would allow injustice and suffering to continue.
The prophet offers a helpful model for our prayers to the Lord in confusing times (Habakkuk 1:13-2:1).
Before offering any requests, Habakkuk acknowledges several truths about God: He is eternal. God is and has always been. He does not change, but is always faithful.
“LORD, are You not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, You will never die” (Habakkuk 1:12).
“The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28).
God alone is Lord and Holy. Nothing that happens is a surprise to Him. He is in control. He sees all things and has complete knowledge. He has absolute power and wisdom.
“To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?” says the Holy One (Isaiah 40:25).
Whether life is going well or if we are facing times of discouragement, our faith is strengthened as we remind ourselves what the Bible declares about the character of God. He has everything under control. Nothing is too difficult for Him. There is no problem that He cannot handle.
Having reminded himself of the character of God, Habakkuk admits his confusion as he’s struggling to understand God’s ways. Injustice was all around, and it did not appear God was doing anything. Ironically, God does answer Habakkuk, letting him know that He would intervene by bringing a more wicked nation to conquer Israel and overthrow those in power. This certainly was not the answer Habakkuk expected or desired. He found himself agonizing over God’s ways.
Have you ever been there? I know I have. I pray with faith regarding God’s power and ability to move any obstacle. Then I question, admitting my confusion.
Lord, I don’t understand. Why are You allowing this suffering? How long will this go on? Why have You allowed this sickness? These bills? Why don’t You help?
That’s where we struggle sometimes, but it’s OK to admit to God our confusion and hurt. He’s a big God. He can handle it. The Lord may not answer, or He may not respond with the answer we desire, but God can deal with our questions.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to come to Him.
“Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Though Habakkuk struggles with his circumstances, he determines to wait for God to intervene.
Habakkuk compares himself to a guard, watching and waiting for God to act or speak (Habakkuk 2:1,2). He is confident that God will answer.
Through our trials, let us remain confident, keeping a persistent trust in our Lord. Faith is trusting God, but true faith is continuing to trust even when the answer doesn’t come (or is delayed in coming).
As the apostle Paul reminds us, God will work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). While Christians like to quote that verse, we often overlook the following verse that explains that good. It does not guarantee comforts and ease now, but that God would shape and mold us into the image of His son, Jesus (verse 29). That is the highest and ultimate good, that all things will turn out for God’s glory, and our ultimate good.
In times of distress and confusion, let us follow the example of Habakkuk. Remember God’s character according to His word. Admit to Him your confusion and hurt. Then, determine to trust confidently and wait patiently on the Lord. God is in control, even in the midst of what seems like chaos. He still reigns.