Lord willing, once we have made it through the Book of Acts, we will turn our attention to the Book of Habakkuk for three weeks. When was the last time you ventured into the minor prophets? There is a question that Habakkuk asks the Lord that provides appropriate words for the previous few weeks where we have witnessed a soul-gripping amount of tragedy, from a church shooting in California to a grocery store shooting in Buffalo to the unspeakable taking of 21 lives in Uvalde, Texas. These words belong to God’s people who feel the world’s brokeness as we acutely do at this moment. These words belong to God’s people and must be found in the mouths of God’s people back to him in hopeful lament. We have all said these words before, and it is time to repeat them. Though with a different context from Habakkuk, these words apply to all brokeness. Here they go — O Lord, how long (Hab 1:2)? Habakkuk’s question to the Lord was how long would it be until his cry for help is heeded. We rightfully ask how long will it be until the brokenness of the world is healed, and events like school shootings and other tragedies are in our past. O Lord, how long?
Let these past impossibly hard events be an invitation to ask a question that is given to God’s people for these moments and ask in hope. This question of lament stands on the ground of hope that Habakkuk eventually found in his questioning of the Lord’s ways. He ends his book with a needed reminder for us — Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food, the flock is cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Hab 3:17–19).
Sorrowful in hope,