A pretty classic human to God interaction here. Habakkuk is a prophet, so the conversation is actually a revelation of God to him for the benefit of the nation of Israel, and by extension the entire family of believers through the ages.
Habakkuk asks God about evil – God mentions that the present evil will soon be swallowed up by a larger evil, Babylon. So Habakkuk asks God how seemingly using evil to judge evil could be consistent with Yaweh’s holy character.
God reveals that evil matters so deeply, more deeply than Habukkuk can imagine, and justice will come.
Habukkuk accepts and believes, singing a song of praise to the victory that will come and undertaking to rejoice through the hard times that precede it.
As simple as this is, it says that our faith requires us to let God pull down the shutters on a host of complex questions about why there is evil, and how holiness can come through evil. Jesus would answer that to an extent, but there’s no denying that big questions do remain for believers. God tells us here to substitute faith for further enquiry about that.
And Habukkuk’s response, to trust and to praise God whatever befalls us, is easier said than done. St Paul puts it that Christians are to appear like fools to their culture. Its irrational.
That said, I was contemplating the other day the well researched default to optimism of human minds. A normal psychology ignores the balance of evidence to remain positive. To realistically appraise the facts of life and live in existential angst indicates a statistically abnormal psychology.
I wondered if there is an innate sense of God programmed into that response. The response that has parents say to children, when facing death and the depths of disaster “its going to be alright”.
Reading this book I was relieved and reminded that my christian faith is still the most persuasive option going, and I feel that God has revealed himself to me.
Despite misgivings in the moment sometimes (how often have I been bleak about my career/family’s future/the world in these pages?) … despite all that, I have no trouble believing in the Father, the mighty Lord of creation, the sacrificial love and grace given to me through the Son and the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s going to be alright.