Feeling Like Habakkuk
by Emily Beckwith
Habakkuk 1:2-4 and 3:17-19:
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4 So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
17 Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights.
Before Sean and I moved to Athens, we lived in California. During our last year there, we attended a small group, appropriately named The Justice League, dedicated to learning about God’s heart for justice and our call to be involved in that work. Our first reading was the book of Habakkuk, and, even as we read and discussed other material, we constantly found ourselves referring back to it.
One of our main takeaways was that God’s time is different than our time. In other words, it’s possible that we may never see the fruit of our justice work in our lifetimes, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t hear our cries for justice or isn’t using our justice work in his long game.
In my LYDN group this past fall, I was often reminded of Habakkuk as I immersed myself in justice work again. Between the historical injustices we were learning about and the current injustices that are being perpetuated daily, it can become overwhelming. It’s so easy to look at the world and wonder how all the injustice can ever be done away with and how I, one speck of a human, could possibly make any change for the better.
I feel like Habakkuk feels in chapter 1, verses 2-4: overwhelmed, confused, desperate. But then I remember that God is working through me and that, if it’s his work, it’s good work, and it will make a difference, even if it’s imperfectly done and even if I’m not around to see the results.
Prayer: Loving God, Help us remember that doing your work is not about “quick fixes” and help us to trust that, however incomplete or imperfect our work might seem, it has a place in your plan for healing our broken world. Amen.