Measuring Out God’s Goodness

Rebecca Van Noord

Habakkuk 2:6–3:19; Acts 18:1–28; Job 26:1–14

Although we don’t usually question God’s goodness, we do make assumptions about how He should act in the world. We expect God to use us in His work and to intercede on our behalf—and rightfully so, since those promises come from Him. But when we find ourselves in messy or uncertain situations, we sometimes run ahead of God. Frustrated with the waiting and the unknown, we risk making judgments about how well He is running the world.

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As Habakkuk watches the destruction, violence, contention, and strife in Israel, he turns to Yahweh and makes bold demands: “Why do you cause me to see evil while you look at trouble?” (Hab 1:3). But by the end of the dialogue, he has changed his mind. He will rejoice in Yahweh “though the fig tree does not blossom, nor there be fruit on the vines; the yield of the olive fails, and the cultivated fields do not yield food, the flock is cut off from the animal pen, and there is no cattle in the stalls” (Hab 3:17–18).

Did Habakkuk merely give in to a hopeless situation? He didn’t gain any more information about God’s motives. But after his dialogue with God, his entire posture changed. The confidence in Habakkuk’s final prayer hinges on his acknowledgment of Yahweh’s power and His anger at the evil of those who disregard His ways. God has the situation under control; Habakkuk must simply wait.

We often associate waiting with inaction, but waiting is faith in action. Habakkuk chooses to rejoice and trust God in spite of his circumstances, and that decision shapes his new perspective: “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in 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 3:18–19). Like Habakkuk, we are called to come before God in humility, waiting in faith on His timing and trusting in His goodness.

How are faith and trust in God motivating all your thoughts and actions?