Faith and Doubt? (Habakkuk 1:1 – 3:19)
A devotion by the English vicar Nicky Gumbel speaks to a question I often have: “Are doubts and fears compatible with faith?” Gumbel goes on to share:
“Many people regard faith as unquestioning. They think faith and doubt are opposites.
In fact, faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin. The book of Habakkuk
begins with a man who believes, yet questions. It ends with a towering expression of faith, scarcely equaled anywhere else in the Old Testament.
Habakkuk was perplexed and fearful of the violence and injustice in the world. (Sound familiar?) It did not seem to him that God was doing anything about pain and suffering. He asked, ‘How long, O Lord…? Why?' He took the problem to God and asked genuinely heartfelt questions. God replied that He was going to do something amazing but not what Habakkuk expected: He would raise up the Babylonians, and Israel would go into exile.
Habakkuk replied, ‘God, you chose Babylonians for your work? You can’t be serious. You can’t condone evil!’ He took his puzzled complaints to God and left them with Him as he waited. We, too, may not get immediate answers to our questions. But like Habakkuk, we are called to trust in God while we wait, even when we don’t fully understand what He is doing.
Faith involves believing what God has said in spite of the difficulties we face. God went on to give Habakkuk a specific vision of the ultimate triumph of good over evil. God graces us that same amazing message through His Spirit and His word!
Like Habakkuk, commit yourself to praise God and take the long-term view of His plans. Commit yourself to faith even when there is no fruit (3:17-19). Even if you can find nothing else, you can rejoice over your relationship with the Lord. Habakkuk wholeheartedly spoke, ‘I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights (v. 19).’ God made him sure-footed and light-hearted.
‘Dear Lord, help me trust completely in You as I honestly express my doubts and questions, and rejoice in You even when I do not immediately see an answer.’ ”