I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us. Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. (Habakkuk 3:16-19)
Habakkuk lived in Judah during the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:26–24:5). He prophesied between the fall of Nineveh (the capital of Assyria) in 612 b.c. and the Babylonian invasion of Judah in 598 b.c. He’s best known for asking God why he allows evil (Habakkuk 1:2-3)—a question many have asked since then.
Crop failure and the death of animals would devastate Judah. But Habakkuk affirmed that even in the times of starvation and loss, he would still rejoice in the Lord. Habakkuk’s feelings were controlled not by the events around him, but by faith in God’s ability to give him strength.
Habakkuk saw his own limitations in contrast to God’s unlimited control of all the world’s events. Habakkuk praised God for answering his questions. Evil will not triumph forever; God is in control, and he can be completely trusted to vindicate those who are faithful to him. God is alive and in control of the world and its events. We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do. But we can be assured that he is God and will do what is right. Knowing this can give us confidence and hope in a confusing world.
When nothing makes sense, and when troubles seem more than you can bear, remember that God gives his followers surefooted confidence through difficult times. They will run like deer across rough and dangerous terrain. At the proper time, God will bring about his justice and completely rid the world of evil. In the meantime, God’s people need to live in the strength of his Spirit, confident in his ultimate victory over evil. Take your eyes off of your difficulties and look to God.