During these uncertain and tumultuous times in our world, it can be easy to be caught up in the negative; for fear to reign instead of Jesus. What I love about the Bible is that it is full of stories of people wrestling through troubling seasons. The Bible never veers away from pain and anxiety, as if those who love God will not face it, but it shows the lives of people who sought God in the midst of it.

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time in the book of Habakkuk. This book has been a faithful companion through seasons of hardship in my life. The book was written, some commentators believe, between 606 B.C. and 587 B.C. The prophet looked at his country, saw the moral and spiritual decline and how justice seemed to be lacking. God told him that the Babylonians were going to come and destroy the nation and carry many of its people into exile. This prophecy was hard to swallow. In fact, the whole book is an argument between him and God as he wrestles with God’s goodness.

I think there are a lot of things that we can learn from Habakkuk and his wrestling, as we walk through this time. I encourage you to read this book (it will probably take less than fifteen minutes). While I do not believe that COVID-19 is the judgment of God on our culture, these are certainly turbulent times. Here are a few lessons that apply to us in this book:

1. You can tell your doubts to God

This prophet, throughout the entirety of this short book, finds himself questioning God with the fate of his people. God does not smite Habakkuk for asking questions, for acknowledging his doubts. God, in grace, answers them. Confronts them head on and walks with the mourning prophet through them. Not only here, but all over scripture we find people wrestling with God through doubt and anxiety. Whether Jacob wrestling God, Jeremiah lamenting the fall of Jerusalem, or Thomas doubting Christ’s resurrection, God meets us in the midst of our doubt. He wants you to lay them at His feet. Even the thoughts you do not understand or have an answer to yet. He beckons you to come. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). God wants you to bring ALL of your doubts to Him. ALL of your anxieties. He is not feeble and unable to handle them. He is strong, steady, and sure.

2. It’s ok to tremble

The prophet Habakkuk at the end of his wrestling embraces the calamity that is coming. “I hear and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters my bones; my legs tremble beneath me.” (Hab. 3:16). He saw the coming days, and they made him tremble. He was not looking forward to it. He was afraid for his people. It is not wrong to tremble. It is not wrong to take a look at the news and see all the bad that is going on and feel uneasy. But it is in the midst of the trembling that we turn to our steadfast anchor for the soul. We turn to the hope in the midst of the anxiety and uncertainty.

3. You can still rejoice 

The most famous piece of scripture from this book comes from the last passage: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the product of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock cut off from the field and there be no herd in the stalls. Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the 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.” (Hab. 3:17-19). In this passage, the prophet concludes that if everything is stripped, he will still rejoice in God. If the commodities that comfort us are stripped. If the feelings of security are stripped, if our control is stripped, if our mobility is stripped. If everything we hold dear is stripped from us, we still rejoice in God. He is our strength in the midst of our weakness. Our joy is found in the unchanging nature of our Father. Our world may feel uncertain, but our God is not. He is steady and faithful and true. And He beckons us to find joy in Him.