Connections 10.30.2022: So Stay Faithful

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; 3:17-19

If we think about just the past decade in our world, we might feel inclined to say with Habakkuk, “Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack, and justice never prevails” (1:3-4). Everything he says in verses 1-4 resonates for us as we think of mass shootings, systemic racism, contentious presidential elections, inflation, potential recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, safety lockdowns, climate issues, increasing natural disasters, war. We see all of this, and we too think that “justice never prevails.” It is easy to get discouraged and wonder where God is.

Habakkuk makes his complaint and then he stands watch, waiting for God to respond. His attitude seems irreverent, disrespectful, and confrontational—but God answers it with assurance that God is still at work. “There is still a vision,” God says. If we “wait for it…it will surely come” (2:3).

How can God be at work when there is so much suffering? When we look at the past decade—indeed, the whole of human history—it seems to contain more violence, strife, and pain than joy. For thousands of years, people have longed for justice. Sometimes it has come; more often it has not. Habakkuk’s cry rings down through the years. It is heard in the oppression of the Hebrews, the tears of mothers whose children were slaughtered, the persecution of the first Christ followers, the brutality of the Crusades, the removal of Native Americans from their lands, the silencing of women, the genocide of Jewish people, the Black people who were lynched and oppressed and denied equality, the struggled breaths of the intubated with COVID, the weeping parents whose schoolchildren were shot, the wails of the grieving…it goes on and on and on.

And even so, God says “there is still a vision.” Something about this assurance comforts Habakkuk and gives him confidence to face another day. His memorable proclamation in 3:17-19 also rings down through the years, a stubborn insistence on hope in the midst of despair: “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.”

Can we say the same thing and mean it?


• What worldwide events over the past decade have tested your faith the most?
• In your corner of the world, what are the flowerless fig trees, the fruitless vines, the vacant fields, and the empty stalls?
• What do you think God’s “vision” is? What does God mean by saying “it will not delay”?
• When have you actually seen justice prevail?
• What do you think gives Habakkuk the confidence to rejoice in the Lord in spite of his despair? What could give you that same confidence?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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