LENT: STRONG

I know a lot of us are feeling isolated, running on empty as we wait for COVID-19 to end. We feel weak, not strong, wondering when this craziness will end. Tempers flare. Kids meltdown. And we feel like we can’t make it another day. As I’ve been praying for you, the word STRONG keeps coming to mind. Personally speaking, I️ know that I️ often rely on my strengths and try to do things on my own. But amid a pandemic, I️ am reminded that I️ am small…I️ am weak…and only God is strong.

WE SERVE A MIGHTY GOD

Thankfully, God can do far above all that we ask or think. Most importantly, He is more powerful than we can imagine. And I️ am amazed at how we can open the pages of Scripture to find encouragement and strength.

Turn with me to the book of Habakkuk, a prophet during a time when the Northern Kingdom of Judah had sunk to a deep low permitting injustice and idolatry to run rampant. A Babylonian invasion was imminent. Interestingly, this book is not about a prophet proclaiming gloom and doom on the Israelites, but rather the personal prayer of a prophet who is struggling to understand why a good God would allow destruction to come upon His people.

IS GOD GOOD WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH EVIL IN THE WORLD?

Habakkuk laments God’s inactivity and silence when the Israelites have turned away from God and chased after things of this world. In Hab. 1:2-4, Habbakuk cries out, “God, how long will I️ cry out and you don’t listen?” God responds, “I️ see” (Hab. 1:5-11) and “I️ am raising up a Babylonian army to bring destruction.”

Not liking God’s way of doing things, Habakkuk cries out emphatically, “WHAT? Are you kidding me? How can you use the Babylonians to accomplish your purpose? They are even more corrupt than the Israelites! (Hab. 1:12-2:1).

SURRENDER TO THE WILL OF GOD

The book proceeds with a back and forth dialogue between Habakkuk and God, and I️ highly recommend the read. Moreover, it reveals that we can ask God tough questions, and He is patient with us in response. Habakkuk lives in a confusing and chaotic world (much like us, huh?). But eventually, Habakkuk learns that the righteous must live by faith (Hab. 2:4). And God invites us into a journey of faith to experience Him. Above all, God loves this world more than we do, and He will one day destroy evil once and for all. Justice will prevail. When we are weak, God is strong.

Ultimately, Habakkuk surrenders to the will of God, but only after much complaining. And when He does, He releases his demand that things be done his way. He turns to God as his source of strength and power. Although Habakkuk could not reconcile the ways of God in his earth-bound, finite mind, he could trust that God’s ways were good. Likewise, will you do the same today? This amazing prayer closes this short book out. Pray it with me today:

HABUKKUK’S PRAYER

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be 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.

Habakkuk 3:17-19