Welcome to the new year! It’s been a week, so hopefully you’ve had a chance to take a step back and think about somethings you want this year to look like. If you read my post last week, you saw that I have a lot of things coming up this year, and I believe you have some big things too. Work might get increasingly busy, relationships might be stressful, our physical health may be struggling, and some of us may experience unforeseen struggles. It’s exciting for the newness of life, but at the same time, these changes can be scary and we will have conflict that will happen in our lives. Sorry for the bummer, but it’s the reality of life. Many people have the idea that following Christ means that all our struggles go away and we’ll never have to face problems, but that isn’t the case. Jesus even tells us that, “in this world we will have trouble.” That’s always the most encouraging thing to hear when it feels like you’re walking through hell. We lose hope during moments in our lives, and this always gives us a choice. In these moments, we can let these struggles consume us, turning away from God or letting our temptations rule us, or we can have faith. Today I want to talk about faith and more importantly, how we can have faith in our creator in the middle of our struggles.
The verse I mentioned earlier can seem like a downer by just looking at that first part, the cool thing is, God is never done with us and he isn’t done in that verse either. John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have trouble, BUT take heart! For I have overcome the world.” I think many of us get caught up in the first half, we focus on our problems and struggles, instead of having faith in our creator. I use the description of creator here because that’s exactly who God is. God made you, he formed every part of you, and not only that but he created everything around us and gave us desires for greater things. I love the book of Habakkuk because, not only is it easily overlooked, it shows us the same struggles we all have in our lives. If you look at the NIRV translation the first chapter is titled, “Habakkuk Complains to the Lord.” That always makes me laugh, because we all do this, and if you’re saying that you would never complain to God, you’re lying (It’s okay, none of us are perfect). Habakkuk complains to the Lord two times, and both times, God replies to Habakkuk and says something very surprising. Something that can sound hard, but vital to having faith in our creator.
We can’t see the end, and the end is amazing.
Habakkuk’s first complaint is that all around him people are sinning, and because this happens, no one is ever treated fairly and death surrounds him. Essentially Habakkuk is saying something many of us say to God, “why would you let this (thing, situation, whatever it may be) happen?” I know I’ve asked this many times, questioned why certain moments or struggles have happened in my life. Asking God, why, and feeling like it’s hopeless. But God replied to Habakkuk, and he wrote it down for us to read. God tells him that he is going to do something amazing, something that Habakkuk could never believe if he was told, but God also says that he is still going to send the people of Babylon. He describes just how bad these guys are, and it could seem a bit weird. Habakkuk got encouraged, then gets hopeless again and, as many of us do, he complains again. God replies one more time and tells Habakkuk that this will be an example, the Babylonians were bad and ungodly, people that if we aren’t careful, we will become. God says that even though it seems like the enemy is winning, the enemy has no lasting power. It will be hard in the short term, but in the long term, this will be an example of what living without Christ will look like.
God used the hardship to make his people stronger and choose to have their faith in him, rather than faith in their own power.
In our hardship, God is faithful and blesses us with his creation.
Habakkuk at the very end understands that this will be use to speak to his people who suffer, not to tell them that life is the worst, but to encourage us that the fire helps forge us into new people. People who are drawn closer to God, because he is the only one who will guide us in the midst of hardship. Habakkuk looks at the way creation is an example of God’s blessing. He looks at how the seasons change and in the winter crops die, but in all things, good and bad, we can praise our king because the seasons change and life grows again. I think many of us need this encouragement, that whatever you may be going through. God can use these situations to do a new work in you and create something new out of your hardship.
This season at my church, we are entering into 21 days of prayer and fasting. It’s a time to reset and refocus our attention to our creator. Each time this comes about, it gives me a moment to remember who I am, that I am a child of God, made in his image. I hope this post makes sense to you, I want you to know that no matter what is happening in your life, crazy and bad as it may seem, you can hold onto faith. A faith in a creator that calls you his. Whatever you’re going through; it’s tough, but the truth is, your creator has overcome the world and everything in it. Remember that God is doing something bigger, even when it seems impossible now, God is doing incredible things. Remember to draw closer to God and he will reveal his purpose in all things.
Even when it seems like the world around you is crazy, place your faith in your creator, because he has already won.