When we are confronted by suffering in our lives and God seems silent, remember that no place is too dark for God’s grace to penetrate in a life-affirming way.
God always has a plan, but it will unfold in his time. Faith trusts that he is at work, and has more to say, even if we cannot see it.
Share your highs and lows since the COVID-19 pandemic first impacted on your life.
How are you coping in this strange and unsettling season in world history?
What’s the biggest ‘why’ question you would like to ask God?
‘Why?’ ‘Why this?’ ‘Why is this happening?’ Many people would be asking these questions about the tragedy and devastation caused by coronavirus. If you’ve ever wondered why God seems to act slowly and doesn’t just do something; if you have encountered questions you cannot answer, or you don’t like the answer that God gives, then Habakkuk is the book for you. He’s been described as ‘the man with a question mark for a brain’ and his conversation with God is recorded in 56 verses. In that conversation he also asks, ‘Why this?’ and discovers an answer that reorients his vision, corrects his understanding and reveals a God who still has more to say.
Read Habakkuk 1 and 2.
Do Habakkuk’s complaints and concerns to God demonstrate a lack of faith or simply a lack of understanding? Explain.
Each of us, like Habakkuk, has developed our picture of who God is and what he is like. The danger is that we let our experiences colour our image of God, rather than letting God’s revelation of himself in the pages of Scripture colour the way we interpret our experiences.
Read the following verses which give an insight into God’s character: Deuteronomy 4:24, Psalm 86:5, Matthew 6:9 and 26 and Revelation 1:8.
Which verses resonate most with you?
What aspects of God’s nature have you possibly overlooked in your attempt to make sense of what is happening in the world?
When we face anxiety, pain, loss or injustice in our lives, our picture of God influences how we interpret these experiences.
What does Habakkuk do after making his complaint to God? What can you learn from this?
God responds to Habakkuk’s second complaint in Chapter 2:4–20. What is the main point of this response?
In the face of suffering or injustice where God seems unwilling to do anything, what we learn from Habakkuk’s dialogue with God is that God is still in control. We belong to a God who is bigger than our understanding. All he asks is for us to trust him and his power at work in the world and our lives.
Consciously hand your stresses and anxieties to God in prayer this week and, like Habakkuk, keep watch for God’s response.
Praise God for his steadfast love that protects and keeps you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to trust in God’s good and gracious rule over all things, especially things that don’t make sense to us.
Gracious Father, amid all our questions, you give us a definitive answer in your Son, Jesus Christ. Strengthen our trust in him, that when we struggle to make sense of what is happening in this world, we may look to him and know with certainty your grace for us and your powerful work all around us. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Our LCA/NZ Churchwide departments are collating Bible studies that individuals, households and online groups can use while in isolation. Go to www.lca.org.au/churchhome and click on the links in the Bible Studies section.
This feature story comes from The Lutheran May 2020. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.