The prophet Habakkuk, in today’s First Reading, stresses the power of faith — he also gives us a clearer idea of what exactly faith is.
Habakkuk lived in the 6th century BC, when Israel had been conquered by the Babylonians and the majority of Jews had been deported. It was as if a hurricane, like Katrina, had swept over not just one city, but the entire country. Habakkuk is in the middle of it all, he sees the devastated city and countryside, strewn with corpses, burned and barren.
Habakkuk feels the pinch of poverty and destruction. And he does the most natural thing in the world: he complains to God about it:
How long, O Lord? I cry for help, but you do not listen!
Habakkuk’s prayer teaches us an important lesson: Having a strong faith doesn’t mean we won’t suffer and be confused in life. Faith doesn’t take away our crosses, but a strong faith does show us where to turn when the crosses come: to God, our all-wise, all-powerful, all-lovingFather.
God answers Habakkuk’s prayer.
He promises that he will act, that he will restore Israel’s fortunes. Though, he doesn’t give all the details. In fact, he even seems to imply that it may take longer than Habakkuk would like:
“If it delays,” God says, “wait for it.”
God shows that he is not aloof from our sufferings. He is watching over us, no matter what. He promises that if we continue to have faith in him, in spite of suffering and hardship, we “shall live”.
Faith isn’t a “trouble-free philosophy.” Faith is strength which endures — it’s the power to persevere through difficulties — the power that comes from knowing that our Father’s in charge.
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Thanks for the weekly encouragement!
This one really spoke to me! Thanks!
Glad you found it helpful. God bless!
Need that extra buoying since my husband just got laid off. Faith with feet. Faith strong enough not to fear.
I’m sorry to hear about that. Count on my prayers!
I consider the words of Habakkuk 3:17-19 to be among the most powerful statements of faith in Scripture. Even though my circumstrances scream against the reliability of God, yet will I believe.
It is difficult to exercise our trust in divine providence, sometimes. Thank God for the gift of faith!
God bless you!
Thanks for an excellent reflection. It hit home. It can be hard to trust in God’s plan–and His timing for it–when things don’t go the way we hoped and prayed for.
I had been thinking about this passage from Habakkuk all week, and then I had this reflection on Saturday after hearing the Gospel at Mass, when Jesus said to his disciples: “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” This is where we ought to place our faith and hope.
Our hopes are easily dashed when things in this world, big or small, let us down. And it isn’t easy just to say, this is all part of God’s plan too. A lot of times it’s our plans, expectations, and desire for quick results that cause the frustration — it’s not God’s fault. Other times, we are find ourselves faced with a difficult trial we have to suffer, and it seems unfair. This is precisely when we need to exercise our faith. Faith, rather than removing our crosses, is the virtue that allows us to embrace them.
This is what I like about Habakkuk’s prayer. At first glance, it may look like he’s shaking his fist at God. In actuality, he turns to God and embraces the reality of the cross.
Thank you. The Old Testament speaks of suffering beyond what we have known, and it speaks of people who strove to stay true. Remembering their struggles give us hope.
I have been told and begun to learn that when we become Christians that is when our troubles begin. For then we are called upon to stand and do battle as soldiers of Christ Jesus — in times such as these.
The explanation seems to be in Hebrews.
Fortunately, if we ask for it, Christ Jesus gives us the armor (Ephesians 6:10-20) we need to endure.
My good friend and fellow servant of the Lord, Citizen Tom. Today I wrote about gratitude, and I’d like to thank you for your reflection here, which I did not notice until today (I also wrote about being caught off guard).
In addition to the virtues of faith, obedience, and gratitude, which go hand in hand, we must also remember the virtues of patience and hope — thanks for reminding us that we also need to grow in our hope.
God bless you and Happy Sunday!
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