As we’ve studied through Habakkuk’s book together, I have begun to see his fingerprints all over the place in Scripture. Perhaps this is merely attention bias—you know, the phenomenon where you buy and Honda and start to notice all the Hondas—but I think it might be something more. Habakkuk seems to give voice to a theme that is prevalent in life with God, one that recurs throughout the Bible. It kind of goes like this:
Mourn, lament, question, cry out to God. You have permission. You have an invitation.
In your rawness and honesty, remember all the while who God is and what he has done.
Never let go of hope.
As I was preparing for last week’s message, I stumbled onto the coolest thing. This theme, Habakkuk’s prophetic burden for God’s people, plays out exactly in the book of Isaiah. Indeed, the last part of chapter 40 is a microcosm of Habakkuk. Look at this:
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
There is Habakkuk chapter one. What the heck, God? How can this be? Where are you?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
And there’s chapter two. Take heart, take a deep breath, and settle down. God is on the throne. He hasn’t gone anywhere, and he is a full of power and love as ever. He is who he said he is, and he will do what he said he’ll do.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:27–31, NIV84).
And chapter three. Hold onto to hope like a lifeline. Don’t let go. Take courage, remember his promises, build yourself up in hope, and wait for the Lord.
We go through many hard things living in this world. I wish Christianity absolved us from hard times, but it doesn’t. Jesus flat-out said, “In this world you will have trouble.” As your pastor, I would love nothing more than to teach you a Gospel that is a panacea to the ills and woes of life on planet Earth. But that is not the Gospel of our Lord. His good news is anchored in the very reality of all the bad news that life brings us. Jesus’ hope is Habakkuk’s hope, a hope born out of heartache, longing and discouragement. A hope anchored in the promise of one who has proven faithful. This hope does not exempt us from walking the hard road, but renews our strength to run again and this time not to grow weary, to keep walking it out and not to be faint.