Blogging with Habakkuk (22) – Trusting God No Matter What

(Part 22 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3:16

Yesterday we asked the question: how do you exercise faith in God even during the worst of times? The first thing you can do is wait patiently for God even when you are afraid. Look at verse 16. Habakkuk writes: “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.” (Habakkuk 3:16a)

God had told Habakkuk about the coming invasion by the Babylonians. God had described the arrogance, violence, and cruelty of these invaders in chilling detail. God also told Habakkuk about the great and awesome judgments he would bring upon Babylon and indeed upon all the nations of the earth that refuse to submit to God. Habakkuk may even have seen all this in a vision. And Habakkuk is terrified at what will soon take place. He is afraid. His heart pounds in his chest, his lips quiver, he feels physically weak and hardly able to stand. This is Fear Factor multiplied by a hundred and ten.

How do you react when you see pictures of the terrorist attacks that took place on 9/11/2001? Sometimes I just need to hear the words, and that horrible mixture of emotions that hit me on that first 9/11 starts to rise again to the surface. The purpose of terrorism is not just to cause damage and harm but to cause fear. And sadly it works. In the weeks following 9/11, every time I turned on the news I braced myself just in case there had been another attack on our country. Five and half years later, I still brace myself sometimes before turning on the news.

Habakkuk wasn’t just dealing with the possibility of an attack on his country but with the certainty of attack. He was deathly afraid, and his fear affected him on a deep and even physical level.

How do you deal with extreme fear? What do you do when fear grips you in such a way that your heart is pounding and your legs give way? Do you try positive thinking? Deep breathing? Just try and push it out of your mind? How do you exercise faith in God during the worst of times?

Habakkuk teaches us to wait patiently for God even when you are afraid. Look at the second half of verse 16: “Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.” God had told Habakkuk the Babylonians were going to invade. There was no stopping that. It was going to happen. But God had also assured Habakkuk that he would judge the Babylonians for their sin, and that he would ultimately deliver his people. And so in the midst of his fears, Habakkuk chose to wait patiently for God.

The phrase “wait patiently” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to rest, or to settle down and remain.” It is the same word we find in the Ten Commandments where God tells us to rest on the Sabbath Day. It is the same word we find in the narratives about the Promised Land where God promised to give the Israelites rest from their enemies in the land. Here Habakkuk determines to wait patiently during this time of trial, to rest himself in the Lord.

God promises to give us his peace when we give our worries and fears to him. Philippians 4:6-7 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

How do you exercise faith during the worst of times? Wait patiently for the Lord even when you are afraid. Rest yourself in God.

(Looking ahead: Tomorrow we will look at the second thing Habakkuk did to exercise faith in God in verses 17-18.)

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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  1. Blogging with Habakkuk (1) at Ray Fowler .org

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