I’ve been working on a study of the book of Habakkuk recently and thought I’d share an excerpt here. Let me know what you think!
After I had my twins, I realized how important sleep-training was. After six months of nightly feedings, I vividly remember thinking, will they ever sleep through the night?!? I was exhausted and inexperienced. I’d wake to their every sound and do my best to keep one from waking the other. Even though other moms told me this wouldn’t last forever, I couldn’t picture a time when it would end.
When we experience difficult life events or challenging circumstances, it’s easy to allow our emotions to lead us to believe we’ll feel negatively – sad, anxious, worried, depressed – for an infinite amount of time. If we cannot see the end, it can be impossible to conceive a full recovery. We have a “ground-level” view of life as of one walking through a forest, feeling overwhelmed by a surrounding of trees. God has a bird’s eye view, taking the trees in perspective of the forest. Through his conversation with God, Habakkuk learns that the Lord’s trustworthiness is not contingent on his ability to understand.
First, let’s identify a question you have for God. Take a few moments to consider what you might ask God if you could ask Him anything. Perhaps something that needs closure, understanding, or is a frequent, persistent issue of struggle. One I hear commonly is, If God is good, why does He allow bad things to happen? Write your question below:
Some of us may find it difficult to question God on a deep level as it is contrary to a message we have learned since childhood – trust and obey. Questioning entertains the uncertainty of the truth or factuality of something – and questioning God could be thought of as challenging the accuracy of His Word. Questioning casts doubt and we are taught to never doubt God (James 1:6-8). But Habakkuk’s account refutes these notions and, I think, encourages us to ask God the difficult questions.
“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (1:2)
In the depths of honesty, most of us can relate to his question, how long? I know I’ve asked God, When is this going to end? Habakkuk is referring to the conflict around him, but we too face the injustice and chaos of a soul at war. Many fight a battle to stay on a path of the Lord’s leading as temptation lurks around every corner. Inner struggle provokes shame as we repeatedly fall to sin we vowed to correct.
We may be longing for change in the physical condition of our bodies – God how long must I suffer? – or change in the circumstances of our life – How long must I bear the burden of a wayward child? An unfaithful spouse? A dead-end job?
For nearly 10 years, I have been praying for God to perform a specific miracle. There are days when ask, how much longer, God? Why haven’t you done something? Are you listening to me?
Recall and record a time of questioning in your life:
We don’t know exactly how long Habakkuk has been calling for help, but we know that there has been drama for a while. He has witnessed the rise of the Babylonians, the fall of Ninevah, and the rejection of God. He voices concerns that God is allowing chaos but longs to see Him to intervene. He honestly proclaims, you do not listen. If God has not answered then He must not be listening, right? But is that really true? Does hearing require response? Could God’s silence be interpreted as dismissal? Ignorance? Rejection? We certainly may be convinced to think that way.
If you are questioning the Lord’s attentiveness, why might that be? What is keeping you from believing He hears your prayers?
Consider how the following verses challenge that notion by filling in the blanks:
2 Chronicles 7:14 ~ if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, __________________, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Jeremiah 29:12 ~ Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and ________.
Job 22:27 ~ You will pray to him, and ____________,
Psalm 116:1 ~ I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; ______________.
Reflect how the above verses influence your perspective of God.
Lord, Your Word says you hear our prayers. Help me to trust that You are listening, even when I cannot hear a response.