Blogging with Habakkuk (17) – Is God There?

(Part 17 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3

Chapter 3 records Habakkuk’s closing prayer in his journey. The implied complaint behind this prayer is that God is not there, which relates to question number three. (Habakkuk’s three big questions – 1) Does God care? 2) Is God fair? 3) Is God there?) But this time, instead of asking God to answer his complaint as before, Habakkuk answers it himself, as he reflects on God’s works and wonders for Israel over the centuries. And through this time of prayer and reflection, Habakkuk finally comes to a place of hope and confidence in God that allows him to praise God with rejoicing even as he anticipates the most difficult of circumstances.

When our youngest son Timothy was just a preschooler, Rose and I passed by his bedroom one evening and heard him talking out loud. We peeked through the crack in his door and saw him standing on his bed with his head lifted up towards the ceiling. He was saying, “God, are you there? God? God, are you listening? God? God, are you there?” We went in and asked him what he was doing. He said he wanted to talk to God, but he couldn’t see God, and he was just wondering if God was there. We talked to him a little about prayer, and how although we cannot see God, God is there and he hears our prayers.

“Is God there?” This is perhaps the most basic of all questions that people ask about God. It is also the most basic level of faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

And yet there is another way we can ask the question, “Is God there?” that goes beyond the question of God’s existence. Habakkuk certainly didn’t doubt God’s existence. He wondered about God’s presence. “God, are you there? Do you know what I am going through? Are you there to help me through this time of difficulty? I desperately need your presence. God, are you there?” That’s what Habakkuk was struggling with. And in chapter three we find a remarkable prayer where Habakkuk basically answers this question for himself and finally emerges at a place of faith and confidence rather than doubt and fear.

How can you be assured of God’s presence? We will look at Habakkuk chapter three together this week to see what we can learn from Habakkuk’s prayer.

(Looking ahead: Next time we will look at Habakkuk 3:1-2)

Here are the links to the whole Blogging with Habakkuk series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

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