i read through the book of habakkuk a few times a while ago...and i'm still stuck on the book.  i can't seem to move on into another book.  my times in the bible have become more sporadic than consistent since becoming a mom and i'm no longer too ashamed of that.  it's where i'm at and while i would love to be more consistent, i've also experienced God's sweet grace in this new season of life as he grows me in other ways, like experiencing his presence, a more consistent prayer life and in recognizing the holy spirit working in my life as he brings scripture, people and other things to mind throughout my days at home...like habakkuk. 
i can't get the book out of my head....a few specific things in particular:
1.  habakkuk's posture towards God -both in his questions/frustrations and then his expectant waiting for a response.
2. how instead of giving habakkuk the layout plan of why things happen the way they do, God tells him that "the righteous shall live by faith."
3. habakkuk's final faith-filled response of praise and submission to God.
the book begins with habakkuk's complaint about the circumstances surrounding him; injustice he sees, why God hasn't answered his previous requests and overall, why evil seems to prevail over righteousness.  his frustration is obvious and his desire to understand what in the world God is doing and how it can make any sense is also clear.  but, he goes to the Lord nevertheless in that honesty.  God's response to him is even more confusing -at least it would seem to be so to me.  instead of saying, here's why i'm allowing the things you see around you to happen and here's how it all works out for good...here's how it all fits together in the end....he tells him that he's going to do something even more crazy and raise up an evil nation who will conquer habakkuk's people.  um, what?  seriously? 
i read that and have to stop everytime, thinking over and over again about how God's ways are not mine.  and that his purposes and plans are much, much, much bigger than i can see.
habakkuk's response makes a lot of sense to me.  he says, " are you not from everlasting, o Lord my God, my Holy one?  we shall not die..."  it sounds like he's saying, "wait, aren't you who i think you are?  if so, this can't turn out the way i think, can it?"  he goes on to communicate his lack of understanding by offering up to God what he thinks is true of him and how that combines with his understanding of what God said he's going to do.  and then, he says, "i will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower and look out to see what he will say to me, and what i will answer concerning my complaint."
i wish i could have seen this happen -habakkuk going to wait to hear back from God.  his authenticity and intimacy with God despite obvious frustration and his expectancy for an answer reveal an overall hope he has in God and all he hopes to be true despite what is seen....
God does show up and does respond again.  he says a lot and i wonder if it made any more sense to habakkuk or if the simple fact that he showed up and responded just told  him that he does indeed care. 
with some recent events like the earthquake, tsunami, aftershocks and nuclear crisis in japan, a college friend finding out she has breast cancer, friends going through pain that i wish they didn't have to go through, long-standing prayers that i'm still waiting for answers for...i've had a few of my own frustrated complaints and lack of understanding.  there are things that grate directly against my understanding of the goodness of God and challenge the fact that i understand what "goodness" truly is at all.  things just don't make any sense to me sometimes. 
i've taken great comfort in knowing that he does not turn away from those who want to ask him what's going on or feel frustrated or confused.  i've also been in awe of people like habakkuk who care deeply about the things they see that seem wrong but who do not abandon their faith or move away from God when they don't understand why, how or what...whether it's a very personal desire that goes unmet or a crisis that overwhelms on a global scale.
through habakkuk, God tells me that in all these things i don't understand, that the goal is not to conquer understanding so that i may have a stronger faith.  no, he says the righteous shall live by faith.  it makes me think of solomon's journey and how much he wanted to be the one to understand everything and "fix" things that were crooked but could never do it and found all of his searching for the right "fixes" to be in vain.  God was the only thing left in the end and i think he wished he'd realized sooner.  i know i've wished i'd realized that sooner at different points in my life.
with all of habakkuk's honest complaints, frustrations, desire to understand and his new awareness of how much more trouble will come,  habakkuk's final response amazes me:
"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."
whoa. these words that habakkuk probably sang in response and praised God with make me want to cry and challenge me to the core.  they make me want to cry because though the picture habakkuk paints for us is of everything going wrong and that he may not understand any of it, his ultimate closeness to the Lord and his rejoicing of Him despite that is beautiful and absolutely right.  it challenges me to the core because i still struggle with tiny things going wrong throughout the day and having a "woe is me" attitude.  i still very often think that i should be able to understand what is going on and why, especially if it is a difficult circumstance.  ugh.  i have room to grow and ways to move towards God and cling to him further so that i may know him and live by my faith in him, no matter what else surrrounds me.  i'm thankful for habakkuk.  and i'm even more thankful for a God who cares enough to hear us, respond and who offers to be our strength, making our steps graceful and secure in him and him alone...no matter what surrounds us.
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