Habakkuk may be a small book, but it packs a powerful message that I believe is relevant to us today. Even though it refers to a time of unrest for Judah, the prophet’s cries to God are relatable. Habakkuk goes to God with his complaints and questions His tolerance of evil in the world. He begins in 1:3 with a lament to God and asks why He isn’t punishing sin. God responds in 1:5-11 by letting him know He has already started to answer his prayers. God is always working; we don’t always see it.
Then, he makes another complaint to God. His second lament is that God lets the wicked go unchecked (Hab. 1:12-2:1, ESV). God again responds and assures Habakkuk He will punish the wicked at the right time (Hab. 2:2-20).
Habakkuk begins to look forward to the day that God’s glory will fill the entire earth (Hab. 2:14). We certainly have hope in that truth. In verse 20, he recognizes the sovereignty of God who rules the whole world and that His extraordinary nature calls for silence.
Finally, he remembers things God has done in the past, prays for God’s wrath and mercy, and begins to reestablish his trust in the Lord because of who He is (Hab. 3:1-19). He begins to rejoice in the God he knows he can trust, in the God who knows best. Even among the suffering, he finds joy in that trust because joy is not found in the circumstances but God alone. He finds strength in Yahweh for sure-footed confidence in God. He proclaims he can live on great heights even amid extreme cases (3:19).
He began with complaints and telling God how to run the world and ended by trusting God, who knows best and will bring justice to a sinful world. The same is still true today. Sometimes our faith waivers, but we can find hope in God’s sovereignty and that He will triumph in the end. We can also take our questions to God when we are troubled about the sin in the world. We may not always see what God is doing – but we know who He is and can trust Him as we lean on Him for strength and experience joy in all circumstances while we wait expectantly.