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,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19
Habakkuk, who might have been a temple prophet, spends two chapters in a fierce dialogue with God asking hard questions about suffering, injustice and violence.
He takes a stand on the watchtower to await God’s answers.
Like Job, who addressed similar questions discovered years later, there is no answer. At least, there isn’t a direct answer that satisfactorily clears up all the wondering and angst.
Sometimes there is only a song to sing.
The third chapter is a beautiful piece of liturgy. The temple prophet, who may have been a singer, expresses trust that all will be well though there is no sign of wellness in the midst of drought, hunger, hardship and suffering.
Habakkuk doesn’t understand why God isn’t fair. His questions are ours on the days when all we can see is bad things happening to everyone. He find a place to take a stand. He holds this inner space with an fierce awareness that God is still present and he waits some more.
What are some ways you nurture trust when you have big questions?
Can you recall a time when you had awareness of Presence even though the days were long and hard? What helped you claim this gift?