When uncertainty and confusion characterize our cultural climate, it’s difficult to engage positively in our communities. When hope dwindles because we’re exhausted from trying to stay ahead of social entropy, we might be inclined to throw up our hands in surrender to despair. We’re not the first to have this experience. Habakkuk, the late 7th century BCE Jewish prophet, wrestled with the same sense of gloom and doom. Charging God with dereliction of duty in his governing of the universe, Habakkuk waited nervously for a reply. God’s patient and gracious answers to him will help us fine tune our faith for those times when we feel like throwing in the towel.
Look among the nations: Observe! Wonder and be astounded! For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if it were told. Habakkuk 1:5
God is working. Just because he declared his intentions regarding his people to a prophet who lived six hundred years before Jesus, doesn’t mean that these words are not for us today. For the way God works now is sometimes as puzzling as the way he worked then. Like a surgeon cracking a chest to replace clogged vessels on an ailing heart, God is working. We are astounded that such work produces health. Like Army Rangers storming a compound to destroy an enemy, God is working. We are astonished that such effort results in peace. Jesus picked up on these words and stated clearly that God was working in his day, through him. It wasn’t what people expected, and they didn’t believe it, though they were told. The Messiah on a cross was a stumbling block to his countrymen and foolishness to the nations. We are awestruck that such an outrage as the crucifixion of the Son of God accomplished redemption! So we shouldn’t be surprised when seemingly horrific events occur in our lives from time to time. Inexplicable as it may seem, God is at work. Shockingly, others may intend evil for us, but God intends good, that we might be conformed to the image of his Son, having faith as pure as gold refined by the fire of God’s forge.
All-wise Father, though I do not usually understand, help me to exult in the midst of trial with inexpressible and glorious joy.