Tears wet my ten-year-old’s face as he climbed on my bed.
“What’s up, sweetie?”
He squirmed a bit and his breaths became short, nervous. “I think I believe in Jesus, but sometimes I wonder, what if Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me? What if our religion is false just like all the other religions in the world?” He bowed his head into his hands. “Does that make me terrible?”
My heart ached for my tender boy’s sweet concern.
The conversation progressed to a precious prayer time together, but as I reflect on it, I can’t help think that many of us struggle with doubts, questioning God, and we often feel shame about it, like my son did.
Recently I taught on the prophet Habakkuk. One awesome thing about this prophet is that he questioned God, too.
Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. (Hab. 1:3)
“You idly look at wrong.” Serious accusation, don’t you think? The prophet didn’t even use “me statements.”
But he gets even bolder.
So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (Hab. 1:4)
Such raw honesty. I don’t know if I would feel comfortable calling God’s law paralyzed or his justice absent and perverted. Watch out, Habakkuk!
But throughout the book, God answers Habakkuk’s questionings without even a rebuke.
Finally, God comforts him with these words.
But the righteous shall live by his faith. (Hab. 2:4)
Faith! The answer to Habakkuk’s questionings was faith. God knew that even the great prophet struggled to see the wider vision, that instead he got stuck in the current crisis and panicked. But the faithful, covenant-keeping, sovereign, mighty God gently called him to trust himself. His God. My God.
It’s as if he gently says, “Don’t worry, child, the answer is faith in me–just like it’s always been and always will be–faith.”
And that’s what I told my son, too. Faith, my sweet boy. Wait for the Lord and trust. The peace that washed over him as we prayed…
God’s answer calmed Habakkuk’s anxious heart. And even though he knew a horrible crisis (exile and captivity) rose sure and eminent over the horizon, he penned these words.
Though the fig tree shall not bud, and there are no grapes on the vine, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are not sheep in the pen, or cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Hab. 3:17)
Jesus, give me this kind of faith, strong and dependent on you. Amen.
Remember friends, he loves you like there’s no tomorrow.