The news was numbing. The tears came so quickly that she couldn’t fight them. Her mind raced with questions, and fear threatened to overwhelm her. Life had been going along so well, when it was abruptly interrupted and forever changed without warning.
Tragedy can come in many forms—the loss of a loved one, an illness, the loss of wealth or our livelihood. And it can happen to anyone at any time.
Although the prophet Habakkuk knew that tragedy was coming, it still struck fear in his heart. As he waited for the day when Babylon would invade the kingdom of Judah, his heart pounded, his lips quivered, and his legs trembled (Hab. 3:16).
Fear is a legitimate emotion in the face of tragedy, but it doesn’t have to immobilize us. When we don’t understand the trials we are going through, we can recount how God has worked in history (vv. 3-15). That’s what Habakkuk did. It didn’t dispel his fear, but it gave him the courage to move on by choosing to praise the Lord (v. 18).
Our God who has proven Himself faithful throughout the years is always with us. Because His character doesn’t change, in our fear we can say with a confident voice of faith, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength!” (v. 19).
Dear Lord, when my world is turned upside down, help me to trust You. You have always been faithful to me.
We can learn the lesson of trust in the school of trial.
Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter three is the prophet’s response to a conversation he has been having with the Lord about justice—for Israel and the surrounding nations. After God responds to Habakkuk’s two complaints, the prophet launches into this song of praise for God’s righteous deeds and character. Habakkuk rehearses the great deeds of the Lord in protecting His people (vv. 1–15), but he also admits his fear when he sees the demonstration of God’s power and judgment (v. 16). But his fear does not control him, because God is his hope and strength (vv. 16–19).