When you and I feel like there is “no hope for a harvest” (Habakkuk 3:17), when desperation distracts us from God’s truth, and when our faith is shaken, what do we do? We can learn from sufferers like Habakkuk.
His heart pounded, his lips quivered, decay crept into his bones, and his legs trembled (Habakkuk 3:16). He was confused, angry, terrified, and desperate for relief. He cried, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” (Habakkuk 1:2). Habakkuk, an Old Testament prophet, experienced a season of trials that seemed endless. He was desperate for relief, for change, for God to intervene. Does that sound like something you can relate to?
I too recently felt like Habakkuk. The weight of grief, depression, and anxiety consumed me to the point where my heart pounded, my lips quivered, my legs trembled, and it felt like decay crept into my bones. My heart and flesh screamed for relief—and in my desperation, I found myself tempted to stray from the truth of God’s Word. I desired comfort above all else, but was called to rely on the Lord in my season of desperation.
When you and I feel like there is “no hope for a harvest” (Habakkuk 3:17), when desperation distracts us from God’s truth, and when our faith is shaken, what do we do? We can learn from sufferers like Habakkuk to:
1. Rely on God by faith
Every believer in Jesus Christ is called to a life of faith (Galatians 2:20). Faith beckons us to rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God our Savior (Hab. 3:18). When we love and are joyful through trials, it is the ultimate demonstration of true faith. Christian faith doesn’t rest on what is seen and what is temporary—it relies on the all-sufficiency of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:18).
In many seasons of desperation, it’s often challenging to rejoice in faith. When we feel spiritually dry and cannot pray as we ought, we can rely on God through the Holy Spirit. The Father sent us the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name, One who helps us in our weakness by interceding for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26). We can rely on him to convict, guide, help, and comfort us in and out of trials (John 14:26; Isaiah 11:2; John 16:7:15). The Spirit gives us freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17) and enables us to abound in hope (Romans 15:13).
2. Be Honest with God
Habakkuk was far from denial regarding his situation. Through his knowledge of the Father’s character, he fueled honest prayers. He expressed himself passionately, honestly, asking “Why are you silent?” (1:13) and “Why do you tolerate wrong?” (1:3). Our Savior Jesus modeled this numerous times in his earthly walk, where it’s recorded that he prayed all night to God (Luke 6:12). We also see Christ’s honesty about his circumstances in Matthew 26, where three times he asks the Father to take the cup of suffering away from him (vv. 39, 42, 44).
We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and have been justified by faith (Romans 5:1). Therefore, we can freely approach him in honest prayer and with faith-filled hearts. By drawing near to and seeking him in humble prayer, we will receive a heavenly reward (Hebrews 11:6). And because our heavenly Father knows our deepest thoughts (Psalm 139:4), it is to our spiritual benefit to communicate with him honestly. Yet, we must rely on his grace, not his response.
3. Rely on God’s grace
We have a warm invitation from the Creator of the universe to approach his throne of grace to find mercy in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). By faith, we acknowledge that God is not obligated to respond to our questions or cries—but we rely on the gift of his justifying grace to us through Christ (Romans 3:24). On this side of heaven, we may never comprehend why God acts or withholds in our lives—but we can rest in the truth that his grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).